Cody Asche, out with an oblique injury since before spring training games even began, will finally start a rehab assignment for the Phillies on Friday night with Class A Clearwater.
Asche had numerous setbacks, never making it onto the field in Grapefruit League play and now missing the first six weeks of the regular season. Asche began swinging the bat during the first week of May, according to general manager Matt Klentak.
"We wouldn't have begun the official assignment if we didn't believe he was 100 percent healthy and ready," Klentak said. "Now he just needs at-bats. He's going through what most of these guys go through in spring training, getting the real, live, game action against live pitching. As soon as he's ready to come up and contribute, we'll be happy to take him off the rehab assignment."
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Asche, 25, should get some playing time when he returns. The Phillies have been so desperate for offense from their corner outfielders this season that his .246/.301/.392 career batting line would be an upgrade.
"We are not blind to the lack of production that we're getting at certain spots on the field," Klentak said. "We're not blind to the fact that our overall run differential this year is negative. We know those things just the same way you guys do and our fans do.
"What I credit Pete [Mackanin] for doing is recognizing it and continuing to put out the best lineup and the best team that he can, on the field, based on the strengths of this club. To date, the Phillies have been rewarded for it."
In 300 career major-league games, Asche has yet to cement himself as an everyday player. He needs to hit, there's no two ways about it. Maikel Franco's emergence moved Asche off of third base, and his defense in left field isn't good enough to justify the offensive production he's given the Phillies to this point.