4/21/2014 10:13 P.M. ET
Phillies give struggling Asche a breather
By Todd Zolecki / MLB.com
LOS ANGELES -- The first 18 games of the season have been a struggle for Phillies third baseman Cody Asche, so it was no surprise that the left-handed hitter was not in Monday's lineup against Dodgers left-hander Paul Maholm at Dodger Stadium.
Asche is hitting .196 (9-for-46) with two doubles, one home run and three RBIs. He started eight of the season's first 10 games, but just five of the last nine.
"He's not playing as well as we'd like," Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said. "But we have to give him chances to play."
The Phillies picture Asche as their everyday third baseman, not only this season, but beyond. But for the moment, the jury is out.
"He hasn't had enough at bats to decide," Amaro 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."
Manager Ryne Sandberg remains confident Asche will get on track.
"I think in Colorado he made some good adjustments, a base hit up the middle, a base hit to center field," Sandberg said. "And he hit two balls to the shortstop. So that was an approach he was talked to about, using the whole field, not being so pull-happy. I think that was progress and steps in the right direction for him.
"Doing what got you to this point is very, very important. I think with Cody, he's a line-drive hitter. He hits the ball well to left field and left-center field with those pitches. It's basically for him to do what he's done that allowed him to get here. Be yourself, be yourself. Power, all of that, sometimes that comes two, three, four years into it. Hit for average, do your job that way. That goes a long way as far as breaking into the Major Leagues."
Triple-A Lehigh Valley third baseman Maikel Franco isn't a consideration for the Phillies' roster at this point. He has hit .153 (9-for-59) with two doubles, four RBIs, five walks, 15 strikeouts and has a .417 OPS through 16 games.
"Oh, I'm not worried about him," Amaro said. "He hasn't played in the cold weather all that much. "Kids, man. It takes some time to adjust. Children. Same with Asche. Kids. You have to go through some growing pains with the kiddies. Everybody wants everybody to be an All-Star right away. It's not happening."
Phils seek retroactive cycle for Howard
LOS ANGELES -- The Phillies have submitted Ryan Howard's seventh-inning single on Sunday at Coors Field to Major League Baseball for review.
The Phillies believe it should have been ruled a double, instead of a single and an error on Rockies right fielder Brandon Barnes. If it is changed, it would give Howard the Phillies' first cycle since David Bell in 2004, and the Phillies' first cycle on the road since Johnny Callison in Pittsburgh in 1963.
"I don't see any difference with that and the one [Phillies outfielder] Ben [Revere] dove for, where a guy is trying to make a play on a ball in the grass, by the shoestrings," manager Ryne Sandberg said. "You're not guaranteed to knock a ball down when you're trying to make a catch like that, especially when he's trying to make a shoestring catch and have a play at the plate. There's a lot going on there."
Stairs returns to site of 2008 NLCS heroics
LOS ANGELES -- Phillies broadcaster Matt Stairs opened Monday's broadcast in the right-field bleachers at Dodger Stadium, where he crushed a Jonathan Broxton fastball for a game-winning home run in Game 4 of the 2008 National League Championship Series.
Stairs said he hears about the home run every day.
"Somebody will mention it on Twitter or I'll get a comment when I see somebody walking around," he said. "It's hard to believe it happened over five years ago and it's still a great topic to talk about."
Stairs still has clear memories of the at-bat and the moments before and after it.
"I can picture when I was told [to pinch-hit]," Stairs said. "[Bench coach] Jimy Williams gives you the head nod and I walk up. I picture Chooch [Carlos Ruiz] getting the base hit to left field. They called time and bring in Broxton. Now I have to wait two or three minutes. Nothing was going through my mind. Nothing. … I knew I was in a good spot."
• Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon was unavailable to pitch Monday because of flu-like symptoms. The club hopes to have him ready Tuesday.
• Right-hander B.J. Rosenberg has faced 15 batters in his last three appearances. He has allowed eight hits (three singles, one double, one triple, three home runs), two walks and has struck out one. He has a 7.11 ERA in eight appearances.
"He hasn't pitched well. He needs to pitch better," GM Ruben Amaro Jr. said. "He can. Again, kids, man. When a guy doesn't have a whole lot of experience, you have to give them chances to find success."
But Amaro said he sees value in Rosenberg.
"He has good stuff," he said. "His location has been poor. He's getting whacked. But he has a good arm. He has to pitch better."
• Manager Ryne Sandberg has used John Mayberry Jr. as a defensive replacement for Ryan Howard at first base twice in eight days. It is a trend that could continue.
"He has not played well defensively," Amaro said of Howard. "He needs to be better. Pretty simple."
• Marlon Byrd took a seat Monday for Mayberry, who played right field. Byrd had played every inning of every game until Monday. He also had hit .217 (5-for-23) with one double, two RBIs, two walks and three strikeouts in his career against Dodgers left-hander Paul Maholm, while Mayberry hit .750 (3-for-4) with one double.
• Darin Ruf is starting to swing in the batting cage. He is on the disabled list with a strained left oblique.
"He's starting to progress," Amaro said. "I'm not sure when we'll get him into games yet."
• Right-hander Ethan Martin is on the DL with right shoulder inflammation. He is progressing.
"Right now he's trying to work on some of his mechanics," Amaro said.
• Right-hander Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez (right shoulder tendinitis) also is progressing. He has thrown off a mound a few times.
"Hopefully by the end of this month, they'll start throwing to hitters," Amaro said.
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.