June 02, 2016
The Phillies have received very little offensive production so far from their corner outfielders in 2016, which means that a familiar face stands to get another chance.
Left fielder Cody Asche was activated from the 15-day disabled list on Thursday, while outfielder David Lough was designated for assignment. The Phillies are likely to give Asche a shot at regular playing time, especially against right-handed pitchers. He’ll join rookie Tyler Goeddel, Peter Bourjos, and newcomer Jimmy Paredes in the corner outfield mix.
Both Paredes, who arrived to the team in a trade on Wednesday, and Asche were in Pete Mackanin's starting lineup on Thursday against Milwaukee.
Asche, who first suffered the oblique injury that kept him sidelined for the season's first two months back in February, was asked if Mackanin gave him any indication of how often he would play.
"(No, but) I think we had good talks in the spring, and I think it's pretty cut and dry," Asche said. "You've got to earn everything that I want. There is no silver platter here with my name on it. I just have to go earn it, and that's what I am here to do.”
Asche, who also missed the entirety of the Grapefruit League schedule this spring, got 59 at-bats during his rehab stint that saw him play at three levels of the Phillies farm system (Clearwater, Reading, and Lehigh Valley). The 25-year-old outfielder struggled during that period, batting .169/.222/.407. Asche did hit four home runs in the minors, including three in his last eight games.
The long rehab was frustrating for Asche, but he’s finally back in the big leagues, where he hasn’t quite seized the opportunity since being called up in 2013. In 1,069 career plate appearances, Asche is slashing just .246/.301/.392.
Asche is eager for another chance to prove he can be counted on as an everyday player, and it appear he'll get it with only Goeddel adding consistent offense from the Phillies two corner outfield spots.
"All you can really ask for as a player is opportunity," Asche said. "They are few and far between in this game so you have to take advantage when you're given them."
Since general manager Matt Klentak took over this offseason, the Phillies have put a premium on outfield defense in an effort to support their young starting pitching staff. But Mackanin also realizes his offense is currently the worst in baseball (3.13 runs per game) and the corner outfield spots are in particular a place he can attempt to add more production.
"We need some more offense," Mackanin said. "Obviously, the defense in the outfield has been very big for us. But we are not getting enough production from three or four guys that I expected more production from. So, not that I am going to stay with this type of lineup, but I just wanted to see if we could get something going offensively, get our confidence back. You have a good day and get a bunch of hits and it kind of takes the heat off and you start feeling more comfortable."
The Phillies also announced that left-handed reliever Mario Hollands was activated and optioned to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. The 27-year-old Hollands, who underwent Tommy John surgery last April, had a 1.46 ERA in 12.1 innings pitched during his rehab stops at Clearwater, Reading, and Lehigh Valley.
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