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Sandberg sticks with Asche after three-error game

Phillies manager wants to see third baseman bounce back from tough night

PHILADELPHIA -- Cody Asche was charged with three errors in Tuesday's loss against the Angels, but Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg kept the third baseman in the starting lineup for Wednesday's game.

Asche has committed six errors in 29 games this season, compared to five errors in 44 games as a rookie in 2013. However, Sandberg doesn't think the bench is a solution to Asche's defensive struggles.

"I don't think nights off are the answer," Sandberg said. "With our type of pitching staff, and ground balls and left-handers that pitch inside, it's an important position for our pitching staff. We need pitching and defense to set the tone."

Sandberg's options at third are limited. Utility infielder Reid Brignac, called up from Triple-A on Friday, has appeared in just 13 games at third over parts of seven seasons in the Majors. Cesar Hernandez, promoted from Double-A on Tuesday, saw time at third in the Minors, but has not played the position in the big leagues.

Sandberg said he would put Hernandez at third, but wouldn't go as far as to say he would be comfortable starting him.

"It's just whatever the game might call for as we go along here in the season, whatever might come up, you never know," the manager said. "But reports are that he's fine for shortstop and third base."

As for Asche, he's the first Phillies third baseman to commit three errors in a one-run loss since Mariano Duncan did the same in a 6-5 defeat against the Expos on May 22, 1993. Asche made two fielding errors on ground balls and another on a throw home with the bases loaded that allowed the Angels to score their first run.

"There were some plays I didn't make," Asche said. "There's no way around it."

Sandberg said it's "hard to tell" if Asche's struggles are more mental than physical. Regardless, the manager hopes Tuesday's performance doesn't have a snowball effect going forward.

"Well, that's what can happen," Sandberg said. "You stay on your toes and you pick up the next one."

Todd Zolecki is a reporter for Austin Laymance is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter at @jalaymance.
Read More: Philadelphia Phillies, Cody Asche