SURPRISE, Ariz. -- A large chunk of baseball -- and life, really -- is learning from the past. Whether it's the last at-bat against a certain pitcher or which outfielder to try to score on and which to pull up at third against.For Cody Asche, he learned a lot from
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- A large chunk of baseball -- and life, really -- is learning from the past. Whether it's the last at-bat against a certain pitcher or which outfielder to try to score on and which to pull up at third against.
For Cody Asche, he learned a lot from his first Spring Training invitation on a Minor League contract last year. And he is applying as much as possible as he finds himself in the same situation this spring with the Royals.
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"I had all these wild thoughts of how things would go," Asche said of his spring invitation to White Sox camp a year ago, "and, really, when you show up it all goes out the window."
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Asche, who was selected by the Phillies in the fourth round of the 2011 MLB Draft, made it to the Majors two years later. But he was waived in December 2016 and landed with the White Sox.
"My confidence level was probably at an all-time high coming out of camp: 'I'm going to conquer the world. Look at me, Philadelphia.'" Asche said. "'You didn't care for me and I go to another organization and make the team.' I'm at an all-time high. But baseball will humble you quick; I got to an all-time low."
Asche hit just .105 in 19 games with the White Sox and was sent to the Minors before he was again released after the season.
"It [stinks] to be cut loose from the team that drafted you and brought you up," Asche said. "It [stunk] to be let loose again last year. Aside from my big league numbers, I did really, really well in Triple-A. I thought I was a valuable asset, but others thought differently.
"Everything you go through in this game is for a reason. It really taught me to have that quiet, supreme confidence. Not that rah-rah confidence. But that quiet kind where I'm Cody Asche's No. 1 fan and always will be."
Asche, who hit .248 with a combined 22 home runs 2014 and '15 with the Phillies, came up as a third baseman and then moved to left field. Injuries forced him back to third and then he went back to left exclusively in '16. He then learned first base with the White Sox last spring and played some right field, too. He also was the designated hitter in 14 games.
With such versatility, it would seem the former Nebraska standout landed with the right club, with the Royals having to replace both corner-infield spots and without an obvious bat for manager Ned Yost to pencil in as the DH on a daily basis.
"It's always helpful if you have guys with versatility," Yost said. "We got him playing the infield early in Spring Training. And we're going to move him around the outfield, too, and get a real good evaluation of him at multiple positions."
"I think it's pretty black and white," Asche said of the opportunity in front of him. "They're pretty transparent with where the roster stands."
Cactus League games haven't yet started, but Cheslor Cuthbert and Hunter Dozier already look like the favorites at third and first, respectively. Asche gets it. He understands his place at this point.
"You could pick 12 teams that look like they have gaping holes, but every team has a farm system for a reason," Asche said. "They have players that they like, and as a player coming in from the outside, you have to respect that. I was in that position once, too. I was the next guy up from the farm system. I know that those guys are going to get opportunities and I know I'm going to get opportunities.
"They lost three guys who have been everyday players for the better part of four years. Someone has to fill in those 600 at-bats. Hopefully a handful of those are mine, at some point in the year, whether it be Opening Day or in September or May or whenever."
Same guy, new name
It still says Mondesi on his jersey, but he may not always answer to Raul anymore. Royals infielder Raul Mondesi now goes by his given name, Adalberto, the team announced. Adalberto's father's name is Raul Mondesi, as is his older brother's.
• Alex Gordon will start Saturday's Cactus League opener in center field and Whit Merrifield will play there on Monday as the Royals seek a replacement for Lorenzo Cain, who signed a free-agent deal with the Brewers.
"We're just going to move guys around," Yost said.
• Catcher Salvador Perez will serve as the designated hitter on Saturday against the Dodgers as he won't be behind the plate until Wednesday against the Reds.
• Right-hander Trevor Oaks is slated to start on Sunday against the A's, and lefty Brian Flynn will make the start on Monday against the Giants. Both are 2:05 p.m. CT start times.
Chris Gabel is a contributor to MLB.com.