If the Phillies decide to trade third baseman Michael Young prior to Wednesday's trade deadline, they just might have a potential replacement ready in Triple-A.
Lehigh Valley third baseman Cody Asche continued to make his case Monday night, belting a pair of home runs and finishing with three RBIs for the IronPigs in a 9-1 thumping of the Pawtucket Red Sox.
Asche mashed both his homers off Pawtucket's Rubby De La Rosa (3-3). The first came in the first inning when the left-handed hitter fouled off three 2-2 pitches before mashing a slider over the wall in right field for a two-run homer.
After grounding into a double play in the second, the Phillies' No. 7 prospect again battled a two-strike count against De La Rosa in the fifth. The third baseman worked a 1-1 count before fouling five straight pitches and again hitting one of De La Rosa's sliders out to right.
"I was facing a good pitcher in De La Rosa," Asche said. "You have to work hard to get a pitch to hit, and he has a lot of plus pitches he can come with in different ways. I was able to see some pitches in each at-bat, got a feel for what he had on the night and was able to capitalize on a couple mistakes."
Asche's numbers have steadily improved as the year has unfolded. The 23-year-old made his Triple-A debut in April and hit .264 with a .683 OPS, striking out 23 times and walking eight times with just one homer. He improved to .267 with four homers and a .784 OPS in May, then began to break out in June, batting .318 with three homers and an .896 OPS.
He's been even better in July, hitting .330 with seven homers and a .978 OPS. For the season, Asche sports a .295 average with 15 homers and an .837 OPS in 103 games.
"The more experience you get at any level, the easier it gets," he said. "You get more experience with different guys, get familiar with different guys. Seeing them the second or third time around, you get an idea of how teams will attack and you can really work the game plan."
The third baseman has been especially stellar of late. Over his past 10 games, he's hit .381 with five homers, three doubles and 12 RBIs. He has an .810 slugging percentage and a 1.219 OPS in that time.
"In baseball, you tend to get a good feeling in the box, and you're able to consistently put good swings on the ball," he said. "You do that, and the numbers will come. I'm just feeling a little more comfortable in the box, seeing pitches well. You take some tough ones and swing at the good ones."
Asche said he hasn't given much thought to where he might be by week's end if the Phillies do trade away Young or other pieces.
"I was just joking with our radio guy the other day," he said. "The only time I hear about it is during interviews. I get my updates from you guys.
"I'm playing with the IronPigs, and I'm just trying to get better every day. If and when the time comes, the time comes, but otherwise, I'm going to stay here and try to be the best player I can."