Maikel Franco might be one of the September callups, according to Ruben Amaro.
If that’s so, it’s a certainty that the Phillies top prospect will play some third base.
Not a big deal to the unflappable Cody Asche, who is finishing up his first full season as a MLB starter at the hot corner.
Asche tells Metro about about the ups and downs of his first full season, what it’s like to sit between Chase Utley and Ryan Howard in the clubhouse every day and what player he obsessed over while growing up in Missouri.
When you look back at your first full year in the MLB, what comes to mind?
There’s been a lot of good and some not so good. You just can’t get too far up or down.
I’ve had my share of growing pains, just like every other young player. Not everyone can be an impact player out of the gate like Mike Trout. I’m just trying to get better everyday and be like a sponge.
It must help considering where you sit in the locker room.
Without a doubt. You can’t help but learn some things seated between Chase Utley and Ryan Howard. The guy next to me (Utley) has played at such a strong level for 12-years up here. What I get from him is that you have to be mentally strong. A lot of this game is about focus. Sure, it’s physical on the field but there’s the mind games. Look at the guy over there (Jimmy Rollins). That guy is our all-time hit leader. He’s mentally strong as anyone I’ve ever met. I’ve learned so much about the mental side of this game. I picked their brains. It’s a great situation I’m in.
You’re in the middle of veterans, who know how to win but the clubhouse is also full of guys you came up with.
That is great for me. You got Ruffy (Darin Ruf) over there and I played with him for two-years down there. You have those guys there (Jake Diekman, Justin DeFratus) and KG (Ken Giles) who were with me as well. We’re young and came up together. What people don’t know is that how I relax is by joking around with them. We keep each other loose. We’re dead serious when the fans see us but the reality is that we keep our sanity by joking around in here behind closed doors. We have a good time together. You need to during a long season.
You’ve come quite a way defensively over recent weeks. Is that due to repetition?
Absolutely. The more reps the better. Game experience is what it’s about. The more that’s hit to me, the better I become.
You hit a wall last season but you adjusted well this season. You fared pretty well facing a succession of pitchers you’ve never seen before.
That’s due to focus. It’s not easy seeing so many guys the first time out but you do your best with it. When you see a guy two or three times, you know his tendencies. Everybody asks me about the big jump from AAA to here and you know, there’s guys that can pitch really well at that level. They’re not quite ready for this level yet but there are tough pitchers down there. I learned as much down there and I’m learning every day here.
What baseball player did you grow up watching?
Ken Griffey. He was the reason I watched ‘SportsCenter.’ I wanted to see if he hit another big homer so I tuned in every night for him. I loved watching him play. He was my favorite player.
Did you emulate his swing as a kid in the backyard?
No, because I couldn’t hit like him. I tried it while playing wiffle ball but it didn’t work. I still can’t hit like him and I’m not trying to. I can only hit like me.
Does it cross your mind that Maikel Franco might be a September callup and play some third base?
I can’t worry about anything I can’t control.
How tough has it been breaking in with a team that’s been in last place for much of the year?
I’d rather be winning but it’s still baseball, whether you’re losing or winning here or if you’re in AAA or wherever. I love playing baseball. It’s been a tough year but I want to be part of it here now and when we turn it around.