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Phils bringing improving Asche along slowly

PHILADELPHIA -- Rookie third baseman Cody Asche was out of the starting lineup on Monday, but that was all a part of the schedule the Phillies laid out when the youngster tweaked his right hamstring during last week's road trip.

"He passed the test of playing in a game yesterday," interim manager Ryne Sandberg said. "The whole plan, strategy was to give him a day off after he played one game and to be careful and bring him along. He felt fine today, but that was the plan and we're sticking to it today."

After a slow start to his Major League career -- just one hit in his first 17 at-bats -- Asche has found a good rhythm and is hitting .288 (21-for-72) with a pair of home runs and 13 RBIs since that start. More importantly, the Phillies can monitor his status up close as the plan remains for him to get a bulk of the playing time at third base over the final month of the season. That would be true even had Michael Young not been traded to the Dodgers on Saturday.

"I don't think anything changes [with Young being gone]," Sandberg said. "He was going to get his playing time at third base. As it turns out, it opens the door for someone else play more first base. I'd like to see [Darin] Ruf play first as we go along. I know [Asche] learned a lot from Michael, so that's a plus."

Michael Radano is a contributor to
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