ALLENTOWN - Cody Asche waited two innings Tuesday night before seeing his first action in the field at triple-A Lehigh Valley. The third baseman turned leftfielder charged a shallow fly ball, called off the shortstop, and made the catch. Asche's outfield project was underway.
Asche said the 6-5 win over Columbus was his first game in left field since a Florida Instructional League game in 2011. He was optioned to triple A on Monday after another Phillies loss. Asche had just three hits in his last 29 at-bats with the Phils. His move to the outfield makes way for prospect Maikel Franco, who could join the big-league team this weekend.
"It's human nature to be mad," Asche said. "I had my time to be mad last night. I'm at a ballpark today playing baseball. There's worse things that could be happening. I'm going to take it in stride and try my best."
Asche, 24, had spent his entire Phillies career as a third baseman. He had a hint that a change may be coming. Asche had practiced in left field before games for the last two weeks. He said he did not know how he was going to make that switch.
"I didn't see it happening here, to be honest," Asche said. "You have to trust that they know what's best for me. That's really all I'm doing is trusting in them."
Asche went 2 for 2 with three walks and scored a run. The fly ball in the third inning was the lone ball hit his way. Franco went 2 for 4 with a walk-off two-run single. He is hitting a team-leading .346. Franco has three home runs and 11 RBIs in the last week
The Phillies can wait until Friday to promote Franco in order to push his eventual free agency to 2022. He struggled last season with the Phillies after being called up in September. Franco struggled again during spring training.
Franco said he was trying too much. He said he is relaxed now, which has helped his fast start.
"I just put it in my mind," Franco said. "I talk with myself. I like to talk to myself and boost my mind, like: 'Slow down. Keep doing it like you're doing in Lehigh Valley and try to do it in the big leagues, too.' "
Asche worked in left field before Tuesday's game with Andy Abad, the Phillies' outfielder coordinator. Abad will stay in Lehigh Valley as Asche's personal instructor. Asche said the pair went over the fundamentals they practiced before spring training.
"There's not much more to say as far as not being in the game," Asche said beforehand. "We'll see how it goes tonight in the game. I'm sure we'll dissect it. See what I did good and see what I did bad and go from there."