The Philadelphia Daily News' Ryan Lawrence reports Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg has not named Cody Asche as the team's starting third baseman for Opening Day on March 31st against the Texas Rangers. In fact, Sandberg has not even settled on the idea that Maikel Franco will start the season in the minor leagues saying simply, "we have a competition."
Asche, 23, batted .235/.302/.389 with five home runs and 22 RBIs in 162 at-bats in 50 games last season for the Phillies. He made his Major League debut on July 30th and received subsequently playing time at third base until the Phillies ultimately traded starting third baseman Michael Young to the Los Angeles Dodgers on August 31st.
Franco, 21, was the talk-of-the-town in Philadelphia for a large portion of the 2013 season. He was spectacular for Single-A Clearwater and Double-A Reading. Franco hit .320/.356/.569 with 31 home runs and 103 RBIs between both levels. In 69 Double-A games, he batted .339/.363/.563 with 15 home runs and 51 RBIs. The slugger was named the Phillies 2013 Paul Owens Award winner as the team's top minor league positional player.
These two kids could be impact players sooner rather than later but in all likelihood it will be Asche starting at third base come Opening Day with Franco headed to Triple-A Lehigh Valley.
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