By Sam Bush
You might say that Cody Asche was pretty pissed off when the Phillies sent him to ther minors on May 11 to play left field.
Forget about you.
Asche says it too!
Just 2 ½ weeks later, Asche was called back up by the Phillies on Friday and handed a starting left field job. He handled one line drive in the outfield and got one of the Phillies’ two hits in a 4-1 loss to the Rockies.
“It feels good to be out there and be back where I feel I belong,” Asche said before starting his first big-league game as an outfielder. “That day (I was optioned to Triple-A Lehigh Valley) and maybe the two days after I was pretty bitter, which I think is human nature.
“Luckily the people that we have in the organization that I’ve come up with — the coaches — they know me. I think that really helped me to reset my mind, set some goals and really just go after it as hard as I could.”
Asche is back with the Phillies after playing just 15 International League games in left field for the Lehigh Valley IronPigs.
“I feel like I’m as comfortable as I could be without ever playing in a big-league game out there,” he said. “Obviously, big-league hitters are a little bit different. Lineups are different, but as far as game experience, I feel comfortable. I just about had every ball hit to me that you could hit, I guess.”
“Some of those days he was probably out there at 2:30 in the afternoon,” Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said. “Whether it was getting balls from a machine with spin on them or getting fungos left-handed and right-handed, throwing to bases, balls to his left and right … just a lot of extra work.”
Asche made just one error in left.
“The toughest part about playing left field? Maybe throwing guys out,” he said. “The only thing that’s different is you’re just not as close to the game. At third, you feel like you’re in every play just because you’re so close. Sometimes in left field you really don’t feel that you’re in the game as much, but you are. I think that was a little bit of transition. It was a little bit of shock.”
The big shocks were being moved to left field so that the Phillies could call up rookie Maikel Franco to play third base … and then going back to the minors to learn a new position.
That’s what led to the bitterness.
“You kind of feel like you failed,” he said. “But the more you sit back and reflect on it, that’s not the case. You gotta just look at it as a new opportunity. Once I really got over that hurdle, I was able to have a little more clarity with what was going on and how I was going to be a better baseball player.”