Results tagged ‘ Maikel Franco ’

Asche Wins Third Base Battle

Cody AscheCody Asche will be the Phillies’ Opening Day third baseman.

Ryne Sandberg did not exactly say it this afternoon following a 5-3 loss to the Pirates at McKechnie Field, but there is no other way to look at it. The Phillies announced this morning they had reassigned third baseman Maikel Franco, right-hander Sean O’Sullivan and outfielder Clete Thomas to Minor League camp.

The Phillies had billed Asche/Franco as a competition to be their third baseman.

Franco is gone, Asche remains.

“Uh, yeah,” Sandberg said, when asked about Asche as the Opening Day third baseman. “Well, I think it’s a combination of two things. Franco goes and gets seasoning and gets at-bats and works on things, probably more on the offensive side, shortening up his swing and getting some better line drive-type of contact. Now Cody plays in these games and gets ready for the start of the season and then we go from there.”

While the Phillies touted this as a true competition, the reality is Franco would have had to completely outplay Asche to have any shot at the job. Asche impressed the Phillies in 50 games late last season, while Franco has not played above Double-A.

Franco hit .184 (7-for-38) with two RBIs, two walks and six strikeouts in 16 games. After starting the spring 0-for-13, Asche has hit .250 (7-for-28) with two doubles, three home runs and six RBIs. He had started to come around earlier this spring, but got hit in the hand with a pitch, which set him back.

“I had kind of a tough go at it in the first two weeks and I was started getting comfortable and then got hit in the hand,” Asche said. “I had to sit for two days and you have to start over when you should be at a point of progression. I had to work through that for a little bit and I have been pretty happy with my last five to seven games with the at-bats I have had.”

Asked about being in the Opening Day lineup, Asche said, “Until my name is on the lineup card Day 1, it’s anybody’s job still. I can’t take anything for granted, whoever is down or whoever is here.”

Early Losses Bother Sandberg

Ryne SandbergThe Phillies dropped to 1-6 in Grapefruit League play with tonight’s 5-3 loss to the Blue Jays.

Do the early losses bother Ryne Sandberg? It is just one week of Spring Training, after all.

“Absolutely,” he said. “I don’t like losses. You like to win games. It seems like in some of these games it’s been a one-inning type of thing. A crooked number in one inning. But our offense hasn’t come alive to overcome a crooked number by the other team. Six hits tonight, the two-run homer by (Marlon) Byrd and then we’re quiet after the third inning. So a lot of zeroes up there on the offensive side.”

The Phillies finished the night hitting just .194, which is the worst mark in baseball this spring.

But it is just one week of games. Countless players have had poor springs and played well during the regular season, so not much can be read into it.

“It seems to me like we get the bases loaded every game and don’t get anything out of it,” Sandberg said. “We get two guys on and we don’t get anything out of it. It’s about getting a big hit in an early Spring Training game like this. It seems like we haven’t had too much offense later in the games. It’s something we have to work on. With more at-bats usually the guys start swinging the bat better.”

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Maikel Franco has impressed the Phillies early in camp.

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Erik Kratz talks about going on the Phillies cruise after the Phillies traded him, and Larry Andersen and Scott Franzke go Western with bolo ties.

Biddle, Franco Headed to Big League Camp

The Phillies yesterday announced they have invited five more players to Spring Training as non-roster invitees.

The quintet includes left-hander Jesse Biddle, third baseman Maikel Franco, right-hander Ken Giles, left-hander Mario Hollands and catcher Sebastian Valle. MLB.com ranks Biddle and Franco as the top two prospects in the organization, respectively.

Biddle went 5-14 with a 3.64 ERA in 27 starts last season with Double-A Reading. Franco hit a combined .320 with 31 home runs and 103 RBIs in 134 games between Class A Clearwater and Reading. Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said Franco could compete with Cody Asche for a job at third base, although Asche is the favorite.

Biddle is expected to open the season with Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

Giles is a hard thrower, striking out 16 in 10 1/3 innings in the Arizona Fall League. He went 2-2 with a 6.31 ERA with Clearwater, although he was limited to just 24 appearances because of injury.

Hollands went 7-3 with a 2.86 ERA in 27 appearances (20 starts) with Clearwater and Reading. The Phillies recently removed Valle from the 40-man roster. He had been the top catching prospect in the organization, but Cameron Rupp and Tommy Joseph surpassed him last season.

The Phillies have invited 16 players to camp as non-roster invitees: pitchers Biddle, Shawn Camp, Giles, Hollands, Cesar Jimenez, Jeff Manship and Sean O’Sullivan; catchers Lou Marson and Valle; infielders Andres Blanco, Reid Brignac and Franco; and outfielders Leandro Castro, Tony Gwynn Jr., Dave Sappelt and Clete Thomas.

Abreu Unlikely for Phillies

jose abreuThe Phillies need a few right-handed hitters with pop next season.

If you look at the projected Opening Day lineup you see many of the names you see today: Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Domonic Brown, Ben Revere and Cody Asche. That’s five left-handed hitters. You also have Jimmy Rollins, who is stronger from the left side of the plate. That has had a few people wondering if the Phillies could take a run at Cuban slugger Jose Dariel Abreu.

But one source said yesterday it doesn’t seem to be a fit because Abreu is a hulking first baseman and is not a candidate to play the outfield.

In other words, Ryan Howard is in his way. He has three years and $85 million remaining on his contract.

But so is Darin Ruf and Maikel Franco. Ruf has pop and can play first base. Franco is the organization’s top hitting prospect. He came up as a third baseman, but the Phillies are trying him at first base to give them more options. If Franco becomes what the Phillies project him to be they already have a right-handed first baseman with pop. And at a whole lot less money.

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