Phillies Notes: Brignac hurt sliding into first base

Cody Asche played five rehab games in the minors, including two with Lehigh Valley.
Cody Asche played five rehab games in the minors, including two with Lehigh Valley. (CHARLES FOX / Staff Photographer)
Posted: June 21, 2014

ST. LOUIS - Phillies third baseman Reid Brignac sprained his left ankle and was forced to leave Thursday's game when he and Cardinals pitcher Shelby Miller slid into first base at the same time.

Brignac led off the fifth inning with a sharp grounder down the first-base line that seemed ticketed for the right-field corner. But first baseman Matt Adams made a diving stab, and his underhanded throw to Miller forced the pitcher to slide.

The Phillies said Brignac will be reevaluated Friday morning. He was helped off the field and replaced by Cesar Hernandez.

Asche close

Third baseman Cody Asche is nearly ready to return to action. Asche has been on the disabled list since May 23 with a left hamstring strain.

He joined the team Thursday but was not activated after appearing in five minor-league rehab games.

"We will see how things progress," Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said before the series opener against the Cardinals. "But I anticipate Cody being activated" Friday.

The Phillies will have to make a roster move to add Asche.

In three games at Lakewood, Asche was 3 for 7 with two home runs and five RBIs. He went 5 for 6 with a home run and four RBIs in two games with Lehigh Valley.

"My leg feels really good," Asche said.

"I didn't want to rush anything," he added. "You obviously want to play the time you are up there, but most importantly you want to be healthy."

Asche hails from St. Charles, Mo., about a half-hour ride from Busch Stadium. He was not on the team when it traveled to St. Louis last year, so this was his first trip home as a major-leaguer.

Nieves improving

The status of backup catcher Wil Nieves could affect the roster move for Asche. Nieves hurt his right quadriceps Wednesday while running out a ninth-inning hit in a 10-5 win at Atlanta.

It could have been just a cramp, Nieves said. "Yesterday I couldn't walk," he said. "Today, I woke up, and I am walking fine."

He does not expect to go on the disabled list.

"I have the strength in my leg and no bruise, so that is a good sign," he said. "I am hoping, in a few days, I will be ready to go."

The Phillies called up catcher Cameron Rupp from Lehigh Valley and optioned outfielder Aaron Altherr to Reading. If Nieves is fine, Rupp could return to the IronPigs.

Rupp's reaction

No matter how long he's in the majors, Rupp appreciates the opportunity. He got off to a good start at Lehigh Valley before suffering an oblique injury on April 13. He's hitting .167 with six home runs and 18 RBIs for the IronPigs.

"I feel good and excited for the opportunity," Rupp said.

He appeared in four games with the Phillies late last season.

Lee update

Cliff Lee, who has been on the disabled list with a left elbow strain since May 19, is expected to throw a bullpen session Friday, Sandberg said.

"Cliff Lee two days ago threw off a mound with a catcher up close," Sandberg said. "He was fine coming off that.

"He is fine and passing all the tests each day."

Avoiding Wacha

St. Louis righthander Michael Wacha had been scheduled to start Sunday's game, but he won't pitch against the Phillies. The Cardinals have decided to give him some extra rest and skip his start, a practice the team has done with its young pitchers. Wacha, 22, is 5-5 with a 2.79 ERA. Hard-throwing righty Carlos Martinez (0-3, 4.19) will get the start against Kyle Kendrick.

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