Sandberg not concerned with potentially crowded outfield
PHILADELPHIA -- A baseball team can only play three players in the outfield at once. Soon, this number might be too small for Ryne Sandberg and the Phillies.
When Cody Asche was sent down to Triple-A Lehigh Valley Monday night, a statement was made in the Phillies organization that he is a left fielder moving forward, no longer a third baseman. And if Asche is to move to the outfield upon his return to the Majors, there would seem to be a few odd men out between Minor League options Asche and Domonic Brown and Major Leaguers Ben Revere, Grady Sizemore, Darin Ruf and Jeff Francoeur.
According to Sandberg, no decisions have been made yet as to who will occupy these positions if and when Asche and Brown are called back up.
"I would say when all of the players are here, who will be here, that's when the wheels will turn," Sandberg said. "Until that point, it's all a little bit hypothetical of who will be here and who will be on the roster. So once that day comes, then I'll get the mind there on how to use guys and get them into games and lineups."
The Phillies have one more outfielder on their active roster, center fielder Odubel Herrera. Herrera seems to be set in his position, as Sandberg said Monday that Herrera is his center fielder and Revere may be able to fill in when Herrera needs an off-day, but rarely more often than that. That leaves six men to fill two positions, and with Asche going down to learn left field, it would be safe to say that position will be his eventually.
The corner-outfielder situation gets slightly more complicated considering that of those four options, only Francoeur and Ruf bat right-handed. With Chase Utley and Ryan Howard already plugged in as every day left-handed bats in the lineup and the switch-hitting Freddy Galvis swinging lefty against right-handed pitching, inserting two more left-handers into the lineup every day shifts away from the balance Sandberg prefers.
Regardless of this fact, Sandberg still remains tight-lipped on what his decision will be once this positional saturation is actualized.
"It is a lot of guys, a lot of left-handed hitters," Sandberg said. "We'll see. We'll see as moves are made down the road. We'll see who's actually on the roster and we'll go from there."