Phillies notebook: Cole Hamels returns this week
The Phillies should receive a big boost when Cole Hamels returns during the Dodgers series. King Cole will start Wednesday so Sandberg can split up their ace lefties. Cliff Lee will pitch Monday. Burnett is slated to start Tuesday.
Chavez Ravine is a great place for Hamels to begin his season. The San Diego native grew up rooting for the Dodgers and has been very comfortable pitching in the venerable ballpark.
Howard being selective at plate
Ryan Howard has lived up to his words uttered during spring training. Howard said he would try to be more selective so he could get hitter’s counts and draw more walks. It’s working.
Howard came off the bench to pinch hit in the bottom of the eighth with a man on second and two out during a key win against the Braves last week. He drew a walk from a tough lefty and Ben Revere followed with the game-winning base hit.
“That at-bat was huge,” Ryne Sandberg said. “That guy (Braves starter Alex Wood) didn’t throw him any strikes. He didn’t go fishing out of the zone. He took the walk up there and got Ben to the plate, who was having a hot day.”
Asche struggles in early going
Cody Asche is having a rough initial month. The rookie third baseman is under the Mendoza line.
“I’m hoping Cody gets it going,” Sandberg said. “It’s still early.”
The Phillies also have Freddy Galvis and Jayson Nix as back-up third baseman. Whatever it’s worth, utility infielder Kevin Frandsen, who didn’t make the team, is hitting .333 with a .417 OBP for the Nationals.