Phillies Notes: Asche lands on DL; Franco may be called up soon

Third baseman Cody Asche was placed on the disabled list after a 10-minute workout Sunday. He has a strained left hamstring.           YONG KIM / Staff Photographer
Third baseman Cody Asche was placed on the disabled list after a 10-minute workout Sunday. He has a strained left hamstring.           YONG KIM / Staff Photographer
Posted: May 27, 2014

Cody Asche walked Sunday morning to the right-field corner at Citizens Bank Park. The injured third baseman was accompanied by Phillies assistant athletic trainer Shawn Fcasni, who oversaw a 10-minute workout on the dirt warning track.

Two hours later, the Phillies placed Asche on the disabled list with a left hamstring strain. They recalled righthander Justin De Fratus to replenish a shorthanded bullpen. But on Monday, top prospect Maikel Franco could be summoned.

"It's a possibility," Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said. "We'll see whether it's the right thing for us and the right thing for him. . . . We'll kick it around."

Franco, the 21-year-old Dominican, is hitting .235 with a .677 OPS at triple-A Lehigh Valley. His bat warmed with the weather; he boasted a .301 batting average with an .871 OPS in May. He has walked as many times (11) this month as he has struck out.

Franco was not in Sunday's lineup for the IronPigs because of an illness. It sidelined him Saturday, too. Amaro said Franco's status was "day to day."

Asked about the potential downside of adding Franco, Amaro said the question is "whether he's going to be able to help us or whether he's ready." Franco is one of the youngest players in the International League. He would be the youngest Phillies position player since Scott Rolen made his debut at 21 in 1996.

Cesar Hernandez, who only recently learned third base, started there Sunday for the third consecutive game. The Phillies' alternative to Franco is a combination of Hernandez and Reid Brignac.

Asche's injury happened at an inopportune time. The 23-year-old raised his OPS to .771 with a stellar stretch in May. He ranked fifth in OPS among National League third basemen entering Sunday's play.

There was "no improvement" Sunday morning in Asche's hamstring, Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said. That marked the third straight day without progress, and it is an injury Asche played with for about a week.

When asked how he felt Sunday after his test, Asche shrugged. His hamstring hurt in April, too. The DL stint was backdated to Friday, which means Asche can be activated June 7.

"We just decided to be real cautious with him," Amaro said. "We could stretch this out, but he had some testing this morning and really wasn't much improved, so we just decided to put him on the DL rather than risk having any long-term issues with him. We'll shut him down for a while; hopefully, he should be back within two weeks."

Looking at Lee

Cliff Lee (strained left elbow) will be evaluated by a team doctor on Monday. The Phillies hope that the 35-year-old lefthander is cleared to resume throwing.

Amaro said that Lee could require more than 15 days to return from his injury.

"Probably," the GM said. "But we don't know that yet."

De Fratus back

Sandberg wanted a seventh reliever to replace the injured Luis Garcia. The choice was De Fratus, who had a 4.50 ERA at triple A. He allowed runs in each of his last three appearances for Lehigh Valley.

"We could have gone with some other guys," Amaro said. "He has the experience right now. Nothing is etched in stone."

Kenny Giles earned a two-inning save Saturday for Lehigh Valley. He has a 1.12 ERA in six games with five strikeouts and five walks.

"He's still a guy we'll continue to monitor," Amaro said. "When he's ready, we'll bring him."

Extra bases

Ben Revere's first double of the season came Saturday on his 40th hit. No major-league player had collected 39 or more hits before his first double since 1990, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

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