Asche surprised by promotion to Majors
Third-base prospect unconcerned with Young trade rumors, role with Phillies
PHILADELPHIA -- Cody Asche and his Minor League teammates had a long bus ride from Pawtucket, R.I., to Allentown on Monday night, and he said he did not get home until 4 a.m. ET.
Naturally, the third baseman planned on sleeping in Tuesday. But his slumber was interrupted late in the morning when Triple-A Lehigh Valley manager Dave Brundage called to tell Asche he had more traveling to do.
Asche was called up by the Phillies on Tuesday, and even with impressive numbers (.295 average, 15 homers, 68 RBIs in 104 games) at Triple-A, he said the move caught him off guard.
"I was planning on waking up at 2 or 3, going to the field and being the IronPigs third baseman today," Asche said Tuesday. "I was definitely surprised."
The 23-year-old was not in the Phillies lineup Tuesday, but manager Charlie Manuel expected Asche to get his first Major League start Wednesday.
With Asche's callup came speculation that the Phillies would be shopping third baseman Michael Young before Wednesday's Trade Deadline; however, no move was made before the Phillies took the field against the Giants. Asche said he never liked to guess what moves the Phillies would make when he was in the Minors and did not ponder the possibility of the Phillies parting ways with Young.
"I'm not one that likes to get caught up in that kind of stuff. I get my updates from you guys, to tell me what's going to happen," Asche told a group of reporters huddled around his locker. "I just take it on a daily basis, try to work hard and try to earn opportunities in this game."
Asche's numbers were steadily improving all season at Triple-A, where he was an All-Star. He was swinging an especially hot bat in the last week as he clubbed five homers with 11 RBIs and a 1.419 OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage) in his last seven games before the promotion -- his Twitter handle is @cody_smasche, after all.
A University of Nebraska product, Asche said he met with Manuel when he showed up at Citizens Bank Park. But the two did not get into details of what his role would be in their initial meeting.
"If [at-bats] come, they come," Asche said. "If not, I'll settle into whatever role they have for me here."
Manuel did get to see Asche a bit a few months ago during Spring Training. Asche played in eight games during his time in Florida and went 5-for-14 (.357), and Manuel liked what he saw.
"He's had a pretty good season for a guy that jumped from Double-A to Triple-A," Manuel said. "And yeah, I'm looking forward to seeing him play."
In 2012, Asche spilt time at High A Clearwater and Double-A Reading, and he filled up the box score. In 130 games between the two levels, Asche hit .324 with 12 homers and 72 RBIs. That included 10 home runs, 20 doubles and a .513 slugging percentage in 68 games for Reading.
Asche was recently ranked as the No. 7 prospect in the Phillies organization by MLB.com, but he was not the top third baseman on that list. That distinction belonged to 20-year-old Maikel Franco, who was hitting .374 with seven homers in 34 games at Double-A this season.
When asked about the possibility of changing positions, Asche -- who played second base in his first professional season in 2011 -- said he would be open to whatever the team asked of him.
But for right now, Asche has made it to the Majors, and he has said his goal is to be the Phillies' third baseman of the future.
"That's why I am playing this game," he said earlier this month when he was still in the Minors. "That's why I am playing hard, so I am ready if I get my chance, then I can stay up there."
Stephen Pianovich is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.