The Phillies have demoted Cody Asche to Triple-A Lehigh Valley in an effort to convert him into a left-fielder, according to an announcement from the team. The move will create room at third base for the club to promote top prospect Maikel Franco, who is reportedly due to join the team later in the week and become a regular in the majors.
Asche, 24, is thought of as one of the Phillies' few promising young big leaguers, despite hitting only .245/.302/.383 in 200 games over his first three major-league seasons. He was ranked as the team's seventh best prospect after a breakout 2012 season with High-A Clearwater and Double-A Reading, but has failed to consistently produce at the major-league level and will begin his conversion into an outfielder with Lehigh Valley immediately.
Philadelphia has used Ben Revere as its primary left-fielder with Odubel Herrera in center field and Jeff Francoeur in right field so far this season while Dominic Brown remains in Triple-A after rehabbing a hamstring injury. The team will likely shift Revere back to center once Asche is ready to take over in left field, with Franco manning the hot corner.
Franco, 22, made his major-league debut last season, hitting .179/.190/.214 in sixteen games. He has been on fire all season at Triple-A, hitting a robust .336/.359/.520 with three homers and 17 RBI in just 29 games, and will be promoted in an effort by the Phillies to provide an offensive boost to their lineup.