Hot corner is becoming a high-traffic area
LOS ANGELES -- Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg spun the turnstile, and Cody Asche spit back out onto the lineup card for Thursday night's series finale at Dodger Stadium.
Making his first start at third base since Sunday, it was the latest opening for Asche to step forward and take charge at third. He also was the Phillies' third third baseman in three nights: Freddy Galvis started there Wednesday, and Jayson Nix was there Tuesday.
"Giving Jimmy [Rollins] a day off has something to do with it," said Sandberg, who slotted the switch-hitting Galvis in at shortstop as another matchup play in a lefty-heavy lineup against Dodgers right-hander Dan Haren.
Sandberg had planned on resting Rollins on Thursday, anyway, in his ongoing blueprint to make sure to get some of the old-guard Phillies their proper rest.
As for Asche, Sandberg has quietly spoken with him multiple times during the kid's early struggles and specifically advised him to keep his head up and keep working. Sandberg noted Asche had some "good pregames" in Denver over the weekend while working on hitting the ball to the middle of the field. Asche, who is tied for the club lead with two errors, also has been diligently tuning up his defense.
"I've talked to him and told him to be ready for his next opportunity and go from there," Sandberg said. "He's done his work."
For his part, Asche said part of his homework over his time out of the lineup over the past few days was mental as well as physical.
"Getting back to a routine of what's worked, what got me here and what's going to keep me here," said Asche, who took a .191 batting average and a .269 on-base percentage into Thursday night's game. "It's easy, as a young kid, to overreact to the times you don't succeed. And I think I got caught up in that."
So he's tried to step back and analyze what got him here, he said, and we'll see if that works over the next few games as he attempts to ignite his 2014 season.
"Having a good attitude every day, whether I'm in the lineup or out of it," he said. "Sticking to my routine in the cage and in batting practice. Doing my ground-ball work. My in-game approach.
"And, not trying to do too much. That's been a fault of mine. Knowing what you can do, and what your team needs you to do. Especially at the bottom of the lineup."
Phillies' third basemen had combined for some of the worst offensive numbers in the Majors entering Thursday night's game, ranking 29th in slugging percentage (.284) and OPS (.540), and tied with the Braves for last in the Majors in RBIs (4).