Well, the position battle for third base is over before it seemingly started. Those wishing for young slugger Maikel Franco to start the season with the Phillies will have to wait. Franco, 22, went 6-for-30 in Spring action this year, all singles, and never really positioned himself as a threat to supplant Cody Asche at third base in 2015. Asche is 7-for-31 so far with a homer and a pair of doubles.
It is important to remember just how young Franco is and the importance of everyday playing time. With Franco likely starting the year with the IronPigs, he will have every opportunity to play every day.
Nefi Ogando, 25, will also report to minor league camp with his eyes on making the IronPigs, as well. Ogando saw action in four games, pitching five and a third with six Ks, allowing just four hits, one of which was a solo homer. Ogando had a puncher’s chance to make the club as a reliever but the demotion may be a blessing in disguise; Ogando will likely have the opportunity to pitch in high leverage situations with the ‘Pigs versus mop-up duty with the Phillies. Ogando was added to the 40-man roster this past winter after being acquired at the end of 2013 for John McDonald.
In perhaps the most surprising demotion of the three optioned, lefty Joely Rodriguez, 23, was sent to minor league camp. Rodriguez impressed in nine innings this spring with the Phillies, allowing just four hits and three walks. Rodriguez entered camp as a long shot to crack the club as a member of the starting rotation but will leave camp as one of the favorites to be called up should there be any further injuries on the club. Rodriguez came to the Phillies in return for Antonio Bastardo.