Phillies recall Asche after outfield conversion
Club designates veteran outfielder Sizemore for assignment
PHILADELPHIA -- Cody Asche was bitter for a few days.
Having been sent down from the Major Leagues to Triple-A Lehigh Valley with his career almost literally turned inside out, the third-baseman-turned-left-fielder said it took him two or three days to come to peace with his organization's decision to demote him and change his position.
"I think any player, it's just human nature to be [bitter]," Asche said. "You kind of feel like you failed a little bit. But the more you sit back and reflect on it, that's not the case. You've got to just look at it like an opportunity and say 'I really got over that hurdle.'"
But 15 games after sending him down to Triple-A, the Phillies have recalled Asche to the Major League club in advance of Friday's game versus the Rockies. He batted sixth and played left field in his return to the bigs.
A third baseman before being sent to Lehigh Valley, Asche went down to the Minors to learn how to play left field. The position change came in anticipation of the then-impending callup of Maikel Franco, who has been manning third base since Asche's demotion.
Saying now that he is back where he feels like he belongs, Asche said he isn't concerned about his new position.
In fact, he's quite confident.
"I feel like I'm as comfortable as I could be without ever playing in a big league game out there," Asche said. "Obviously, big league hitters are a little bit different, lineups are different, but as far as game experience I feel comfortable. I've just about had every ball hit to me that can be hit to me."
As a counter-move to Asche's promotion, the Phillies designated outfielder Grady Sizemore for assignment, a move Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said had nothing to do with Sizemore's production. Instead, the move was merely a result of the limit on roster space.
"With Sizemore it was just a numbers thing," Sandberg said. "It opened up a chance for a young guy like Cody to be in there and play every day."
Playing every day should qualify as a little bit of time off for Asche after what he was subjected to in Lehigh Valley.
To acclimate himself to the new position, Asche met with outfield coach Andy Abad and manager Dave Brundage hours before every IronPigs' day game to catch awkwardly-spun balls out of a machine, receive left-handed and right-handed fungos, throw to bases and work to his left and right.
After all the preparation he put in, Asche said he isn't nervous at all about playing left field as a Major Leaguer. In fact, Asche said he is less nervous today than he was his first day in Triple-A.
And though that first day in Triple-A was less than a month ago, Asche said time -- most certainly -- did not fly while he was down in the Minors.
"Fifteen games down there feels like two months," he said. "You guys might think it was quick, but it sure didn't feel like it to me."