5/14/2014 4:00 P.M. ET
Sandberg sticks with Asche after three-error game
Phillies manager wants to see third baseman bounce back from tough night
By Todd Zolecki and Austin Laymance / MLB.com
PHILADELPHIA -- Cody Asche was charged with three errors in Tuesday's loss against the Angels, but Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg kept the third baseman in the starting lineup for Wednesday's game.
Asche has committed six errors in 29 games this season, compared to five errors in 44 games as a rookie in 2013. However, Sandberg doesn't think the bench is a solution to Asche's defensive struggles.
"I don't think nights off are the answer," Sandberg said. "With our type of pitching staff, and ground balls and left-handers that pitch inside, it's an important position for our pitching staff. We need pitching and defense to set the tone."
Sandberg's options at third are limited. Utility infielder Reid Brignac, called up from Triple-A on Friday, has appeared in just 13 games at third over parts of seven seasons in the Majors. Cesar Hernandez, promoted from Double-A on Tuesday, saw time at third in the Minors, but has not played the position in the big leagues.
Sandberg said he would put Hernandez at third, but wouldn't go as far as to say he would be comfortable starting him.
"It's just whatever the game might call for as we go along here in the season, whatever might come up, you never know," the manager said. "But reports are that he's fine for shortstop and third base."
As for Asche, he's the first Phillies third baseman to commit three errors in a one-run loss since Mariano Duncan did the same in a 6-5 defeat against the Expos on May 22, 1993. Asche made two fielding errors on ground balls and another on a throw home with the bases loaded that allowed the Angels to score their first run.
"There were some plays I didn't make," Asche said. "There's no way around it."
Sandberg said it's "hard to tell" if Asche's struggles are more mental than physical. Regardless, the manager hopes Tuesday's performance doesn't have a snowball effect going forward.
"Well, that's what can happen," Sandberg said. "You stay on your toes and you pick up the next one."
Brown among Phillies scuffling offensively
PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies entered Wednesday's series finale against the Angels tied for sixth in the National League with a .315 on-base percentage.
But the baserunners have not translated into runs. They ranked 12th in runs, 10th in slugging percentage and 14th in home runs.
That is a problem, one reason the Phils began Wednesday 17-20 and last in the NL East.
"We're getting guys on, we just haven't gotten the big hits," Philadelphia hitting coach Steve Henderson said. "Have we hit the ball hard? Yes, we have hit the ball hard. But compared to what we did last year, we're starting to click. We've got some guys that are healthier."
Domonic Brown's production in left field has been a concern. He has just one home run since Aug. 14. He has a .593 OPS this season, which is lower than Ben Revere's .598 OPS. Revere has never hit a home run in his big league career.
More power from Brown would help the lineup.
"Pitchers are making adjustments on him," Henderson said. "They're pitching him away and he's hitting it away. [Tuesday] night, he just missed two balls. I think he's found something in his load. He's feeling much better now.
"But he's got to adjust to them, too. He's doing it. He's starting to hit the ball the other way. The power part will come once he shows them he can go there. Then they'll start pitching him the way he wants them to pitch him."
• Phillies first baseman/outfielder Darin Ruf and reliever Ethan Martin each appeared in their second Minor League rehab game with Triple-A Lehigh Valley on Tuesday.
Ruf went 1-for-4 with a stolen base and played left field. He's 2-for-6 with one RBI with the IronPigs. Ruf began the season on the 15-day disabled list, the result of a strained left oblique.
Martin struck out one during a perfect inning, his second in as many games. The right-hander is on the disabled list as he builds arm strength following shoulder inflammation in Spring Training.
• Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez will begin a rehab assignment Thursday with Class A Advanced Clearwater. The right-hander is on the 60-day disabled list after experiencing shoulder tendinitis in Spring Training.
• Shortstop Jimmy Rollins collected career hit No. 2,211 with a single in the sixth inning Wednesday, which tied Ed Delahanty for third in franchise history. Rollins is 24 hits shy of the Phillies' all-time hit record.
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. Austin Laymance is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jalaymance. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.