Phillies' Asche keeping positive outlook despite benching

Posted: April 25, 2014

LOS ANGELES - In one corner of the new, visiting clubhouse at Dodger Stadium, a sushi chef laid out his spread for hungry ballplayers. On the other side of the room, a few players dug into one of the boxes of In-N-Out burgers.

Cody Asche wasn't on either side. Asche was in the indoor hitting cage, working on his craft, more than 2 hours before the Phillies took the field for pregame batting practice.

"When you're not playing, you just want to stay fresh," Asche said. "So I'm just continuing to do my routine, what works for me. What's worked for me my whole career."

For the third straight game, Asche was out of the starting lineup last night.

Despite Asche's first-month struggles, it was at least mildly surprising that the lefthanded-hitting third baseman was out of the lineup again, since the Phillies were matched against a righthanded pitcher after facing lefties the two previous nights. Switch-hitter Freddy Galvis started in his place.

Manager Ryne Sandberg said Asche's 3-day stint on the bench is not a mental break for the 23-year-old infielder, the youngest player on the team. It's related instead to the team's strong points in winning three straight games.

"I'd say some of the biggest improvements we've made the last three games is solid pitching and solid defense," Sandberg said. "Freddy has been a part of that. So he finds himself in the lineup.

Galvis was hitting only 1-for-18 (.056) in hist first seven games since returning from the disabled list, but his glove, arguably the best on the team, regardless of position, makes him an asset, according to Sandberg.

Since Galvis returned from the disabled list two Fridays ago, he's started five of 12 games, including last night's, four at third base.

In that same time period, Asche has started only six of 12 games. Asche, the Opening Day third baseman, started six of the Phillies' first seven games this season.

But he's not letting the cutback in playing time frustrate him.

"The only thing you can really control is your attitude. you know?" Asche said. "When you see you're not in the lineup, you just have to continue to have a good attitude. There might be an opportunity in the seventh or eighth where I have to come in [for] a big at-bat, or I have to go in for defense. So whatever can help the team win. We've won the last three games. So what more can you do? You just try to help the team win."

Asche's struggles have been well-documented recently. A recap:

* He's hitting .196. Among the 113 National League players with at least 50 plate appearances, only eight players are hitting lower.

* He has a .275 OBP. Among those same 113 players, Asche's OBP ranks 95th.

* In the last 2 weeks, Asche is 2-for-23 with no extra-base hits, no RBI, two walks and seven strikeouts in 10 games.

"You can't change anything in the past," Asche said. "You can't dwell on it. Obviously, I'd like to be hitting a little better, and make decisions easier on them. But that's not the case. I just have to keep a good attitude, keep working on what I've been working on, keep doing my thing."

Rosenberg sent down

The Phillies optioned righthander B.J. Rosenberg to Triple A Lehigh Valley yesterday afternoon to open a spot on the roster for Cole Hamels.

Rosenberg allowed just one run in his first five appearances out of the bullpen to begin the season, but was beaten up in the last week. He has allowed five runs on eight hits and two walks in two innings, over three games.

Rosenberg's struggles began when he allowed three consecutive home runs to the only three batters he faced last week in a 9-6 loss to the Atlanta Braves at Citizens Bank Park.

"Just to allow him to get the feet on the ground and get some confidence," Sandberg said of Rosenberg's demotion. "He's going to work on some things. He's going to work on a cut fastball, along with his four-seamer. In the past, he's a guy who needed some games under his belt to get some arm strength. In September, he was throwing 95 to 97 mph. Now he's at 93. That's been his track record. He's been working on a cutter but he hasn't been able to feature it in a game. He hasn't had the confidence."

The Phillies opened the season with four righthanders in their bullpen. Only one of them (Jonathan Papelbon) remains; Rosenberg, Justin De Fratus and Brad Lincoln are all pitching out of the IronPigs bullpen.

The righthanded contingent of the major league 'pen also includes Jeff Manship, Shawn Camp and Mike Adams. Although Sandberg has repeatedly said he plans to ease Adams into regular work, since the pitcher is coming off shoulder surgery, he is the team's best-equipped righthanded reliever for late-game situations.

Entering last night, Adams had pitched a pair of perfect innings since returning from the DL, including in the eighth inning of Tuesday night's 3-2 win.

"He came in [Tuesday] night throwing strikes," Sandberg said. "That's huge. We're talking about strikes out of the bullpen, challenging the hitter, down in the zone, mix pitches, but come out of the bullpen throwing strikes has been the message from Day 1."

Phillers

A day after sitting out of the lineup, Ben Revere tied a career high with four hits in the Phillies' 3-2 win on Tuesday night. Revere's first three hits came against Dodgers lefthander Hyun-jin Ryu. Revere entered last night night hitting .440 (11-for-25) against lefthanded pitchers this season, the second highest average among lefthanded hitters, behind only the Yankees' Jacoby Ellsbury (.448) . . . Kyle Kendrick (0-2, 3.50 ERA) starts opposite Dan Haren (3-0, 2.16) when the Phillies wrap their four-game series at Dodger Stadium tonight. Kendrick is 3-3 with an 8.34 ERA in seven career games (four starts) at Dodger Stadium. He held Colorado to three runs in seven innings of a 3-1 loss to the Rockies in his previous start.


On Twitter: @ryanlawrence21

Blog: ph.ly/HighCheese

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