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Asche a 'better' player for time on bench

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PHOENIX -- Cody Asche is still trying to find his hitting stroke, with a .192 average going into Friday's game. The young third baseman came off the bench for the first three games in Los Angeles before returning to the starting lineup on Thursday, and Friday at Arizona.

"Part of this game that's so tough is the mental part," Asche said. "It's a learning process. Growing up as a baseball player, you've got to learn how to handle those things. When they do come your way, you've got to find the positives in the situation. I got a chance to work and help the team coming off the bench. I'm a better baseball player because of it, regardless of what happens in the next five games, 10 games, five years."

Asche doesn't put much stock in his previous numbers at Chase Field, 5-for-11 in three games. He said coming off the bench requires paying close attention to the game from the middle innings on and going over the pinch-hitting and defensive situations in his mind.

"It's getting there," he said of his hitting. 

Asche led off the ninth inning in Los Angeles on Thursday with a single and came around to score to break a 3-3 tie in the Phillies' four-run rally.

"He made an excellent defensive play at third base. Played a big part in getting the W," Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said. "It's a game that could really get him going, I think."

Jose Romero is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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