Cody Asche walked Sunday morning to the right-field corner at Citizens Bank Park. The injured third baseman was accompanied by Phillies assistant athletic trainer Shawn Fcasni, who oversaw a 10-minute workout on the dirt warning track.
Two hours later, the Phillies placed Asche on the disabled list with a left hamstring strain. They recalled righthander Justin De Fratus to replenish a shorthanded bullpen. But, on Monday, top prospect Maikel Franco could be summoned to play third base.
"It's a possibility," Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said. "We'll see whether it's the right thing for us and the right thing for him. ... We'll kick it around."
Franco, the 21-year-old Dominican, is hitting .235 with a .677 OPS at triple-A Lehigh Valley, but his bat has warmed with the weather. He is batting .301 with an .871 OPS in May and has walked as many times (11) as he has struck out.
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He did not play Saturday because of an illness. Franco was not in Sunday's IronPigs lineup either, but Amaro said Franco was "day to day."
Asked about the potential downside of adding Franco, Amaro said the question is "whether he's going to be able to help us or whether he's ready."
Cesar Hernandez, who only recently learned third base, started there Sunday for the third straight game. The Phillies could platoon him with Reid Brignac.
Asche's injury happened at an inopportune time. He raised his OPS to .771 with a stellar stretch in May. He ranked fifth in OPS among National League third basemen entering Sunday's play.
There was "no improvement" Sunday morning in Asche's hamstring, Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said. That marked the third straight day without progress, and it is an injury Asche played with for about a week.
When asked how he felt Sunday after his test, Asche shrugged. His hamstring hurt him in April, too. The DL stint was backdated to Friday, which means Asche can be activated June 7.
"We just decided to be real cautious with him," Amaro said. "We could stretch this out, but he had some testing this morning and really wasn't much improved, so we just decided to put him on the DL rather than risk having any long-term issues with him. We'll shut him down for a while, hopefully he should be back within two weeks."
Sandberg wanted a seventh reliever to replace Luis Garcia. The choice was De Fratus, who had a 4.50 ERA at triple A. He allowed runs in each of his last three appearances for Lehigh Valley.
"We could have gone with some other guys," Amaro said. "He has the experience right now. Nothing is etched in stone."
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