LOS ANGELES - The day after Cody Asche's batting average dipped under .200 again, Ryne Sandberg sat his starting third baseman Monday night.
The Phillies manager cited the Los Angeles Dodgers' lefthanded pitcher, Paul Maholm, as an excuse. Sandberg found promise in two singles Asche hit over the weekend.
There are few other positives to offer. Asche, 23, is the youngest player in the Phillies' everyday lineup. He has yet to gain his footing in the majors.
"The trap a young player doesn't want to fall into is to try to do what the veteran players do, and copy them too much," Sandberg said. He added, "Doing what got you to this point is very, very important."
Asche rapped three hits - including a double and a home run - on opening day in Texas. He had six hits in 42 subsequent at-bats, just one for extra bases. He has a .384 OPS in that span.
Asche's major-league career is just 67 games old. That, Ruben Amaro Jr. said, is far too small a sample size for any judgments.
"He hasn't had enough at-bats to decide," the Phillies general manager said. "The kid is a good player. We just have to give him time to grow up. That's all. Make some adjustments, gain some confidence, and go from there."
Freddy Galvis replaced Asche in the sixth inning of Sunday's game and started at third base Monday. When asked whether Galvis could steal some of Asche's playing time if there are no improvements in the near future, Sandberg said he is evaluating the situation "a day at a time."
That leash could shorten if top prospect Maikel Franco shows progress at triple-A Lehigh Valley. The 21-year-old third baseman entered play Monday with a .153 batting average and .417 OPS over 16 games. He went 0 for 4 in a 4-2 IronPigs win Monday.
"Oh, I'm not worried about him," Amaro said.
Is he worried about Asche?
"He's not playing as well as we'd like," Amaro said. "But we have to give him chances to play."
The Phillies sent Major League Baseball a formal request to change Ryan Howard's seventh-inning single Sunday to a double, which would give Howard the team's first cycle in nearly a decade. The play, like all other challenged scoring decisions, will be reviewed by Joe Torre.
Howard hit a ball that bounced just in front of Colorado rightfielder Brandon Barnes, who aborted a tough catch attempt and could not keep the ball in front of him.
It was ruled a single and an error.
"A guy is trying to make a play on a ball in the grass by the shoestrings," Sandberg said. "You're not guaranteed to knock a ball down when you're trying to make a catch like that."
Darin Ruf (strained rib-cage muscle) has not begun batting practice. He has taken swings off a tee, Amaro said.