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August 12, 2016

Phillies Notes: Cody Asche optioned to Triple-A, Hellickson update

The Phillies made a somewhat surprising move on Friday when they cleared a spot for outfielder Peter Bourjos (from the disabled list) on the active 25-man roster: they optioned veteran Cody Asche to Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

Reserve outfielder Jimmy Paredes (.200/.232/.347 in 100 plate appearances) seemed like the more obvious candidate to be dismissed from the roster, although he would have had to been designated for assignment. Since Paredes doesn’t appear to be anyone in the team’s plans beyond 2016, that’s probably not a factor anyway.

Instead, the Phils decided it was a good time to send Asche to Triple-A in an effort to get him playing regularly and possibly back in the groove at the plate he was in shortly after rejoining the team in June, following a two-month stay on the disabled list to begin the season after battling an oblique injury throughout the spring.

“I can’t sit here and say I got screwed or anything,” Asche said before leaving Citizens Bank Park on Friday afternoon. “It’s a performance business. If you don’t perform you have to go somewhere else.”

While Paredes certainly hasn’t hit, Asche has a point – he hasn’t performed for the majority of his two-month stay on the big league roster, despite the hot start. He entered Friday hitting .213/.281/.362 in 57 games (192 plate appearances).

But after hitting .289 with two home runs and 10 doubles in 26 games in June, Asche hit .143/.235./.253 in 31 games since July 1. He went 1-for-30 in his first 10 games coming out of the All-Star break.

“It just hasn’t happened,” Asche said. “I wish I could tell you why. If I knew why I probably wouldn’t be standing here right now, but I am. Hopefully I’ll go down there and figure it out sooner rather than later.”

Asche could return when rosters expand on Sept. 1. But with Odubel Herrera and Aaron Altherr figuring to be a part of the team’s plans moving forward, and outfield prospects Nick Williams, Roman Quinn, and Dylan Cozens figuring to be on the radar in 2017, if not sooner, it’s worth wondering if the Phillies part ways with Asche this winter.

Asche, the team’s Opening Day third baseman in 2014 and 2015 who was shifted to left field early last season, wasn’t putting himself in that mindset when he packed his things on Friday.

“I understand how exciting (everyone is with) prospects,” Asche said. “But in reality, the way teams are built, and the way that those guys come up and succeed is when they’re surrounded with people who know what’s going on and can kind of guide them through what needs to be done. I don’t really worry about my future within the organization. I would hope I’m respected enough to where if my ability shows, that I have a spot in this room and that’s all I can really hope for.”

If Asche is back in 2017, it would almost certainly be in a bench/utility role. With that in mind, manager Pete Mackanin said Asche would get work at both third base and first base, in addition to the outfield, while in Triple-A this month in an effort to increase his versatility.

 Jeremy Hellickson remains in line to make his next scheduled start, on Wednesday against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Hellickson had to leave his start on Wednesday at Dodger Stadium with back pain.

“We are still going to wait, see how he feels in a couple days to see if he is going to make his next start,” Mackanin said. “But at this point right now I feel like he is going to make that start.”

  • Colorado Rockies rookie David Dahl can set a major league record on Friday night at Citizens Bank Park. Dahl has hit safely in 17 straight games to begin his big league career; on Thursday, he tied the 75-year-old mark set by Cincinnati’s Chuck Aleno in 1941.

Dahl, who is hitting cleanup tonight for Colorado, is hitting .358 with a .394 OBP, three home runs, three triples, and one double in his first 17 major league games.

  • The Phillies claimed left-handed reliever Patrick Schuster off waivers from the Oakland Athletics on Friday and optioned him to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Schuster has appeared in five games with the A’s this season but has spent the majority of the year at Triple-A Nashville, where he had a 1.16 ERA in 32 games and 39 strikeouts and 12 walks in 38 2/3 innings.

  • Future Hall of Famer Jim Thome will be enshrined into the Phillies Wall of Fame prior to tonight’s game against the Rockies. Here are some classic memories of Thome’s short but impactful stay in Philadelphia.

Follow Ryan on Twitter: @ryanlawrence21