It didn't take long for Cody Asche to knock any rust off.  After missing three weeks with a hamstring strain, the Phillies' third baseman began a rehab stint with the organization's Class A affiliate, the Lakewood BlueClaws, slamming two home runs in his first of three rehab games on Friday night.

Phillies third baseman Cody Asche at bat for the Lakewood BlueClaws during a rehabilitation assignment. (Lakewood BlueClaws)

In three games against the Hickory Crawdads (Texas affiliate), the Phils’ rookie went 3-for-7 with a double, the aforementioned pair of long balls, five RBI, three walks and a stolen base. 

With that type of production, Asche didn’t look like a guy that needed more time to brush up on his skills, although he doesn’t expect to be activated for the big league club much sooner than the originally planned week of rehab outings.

"I feel great," Asche asserted.  "I feel like I'm healed and I'm ready to go after it.  It's a slow process to build up that stamina to make sure you're not going too hard on it.  You gotta build that strength back up, that you lost.  So, I just gotta take it day by day."

 The Phillies' 4th round draft pick in 2011 out of the University of Nebraska, Asche, was batting .258 with four home runs and 18 RBI through 40 games in his first full season in the big leagues, prior to being sidelined with the injury on May 22nd.    

Despite being the Phillies' opening day third baseman this year, Asche admits that he still feels as though he is competing for a starting spot with the big club.

"For sure, I'm still fighting for a job," Asche explained.  "Until you've got years under your belt instead of months or days, I think you're always fighting for a job.  You know, I'm just going out there and trying to prove that I belong.  In my mind I do, but you've got to out and produce out there if you want to stay in the lineup and stay on the field." 

Asche, who was in the minors until midseason last year, takes his chance to be an influence on the Phils' current crop of prospects quite seriously, citing a desire to talk baseball with his rehab teammates to make sure they're into the game and to build a rapport with them.

"It's a good opportunity.  I think the organization would expect it out of their players, when they come down to do things the right way and to kind of show (the prospects) why you were there, how you made it and just make sure you're doing the right thing, so these guys get a good taste of what they need to do and what they should keep doing," Asche said.

Asche is slated to continue his rehab, as he will head to Triple-A Lehigh Valley for their home series that begins on Monday.  The BlueClaws will return to action, following the South Atlantic League All-Star Break, on Thursday 7:05 PM when they start a four-game series against the West Virginia Power (Pirates affiliate).

Jay Floyd created and writes the website PhoulBallz.com about area minor league clubs, like the Lakewood BlueClaws, from the inside. In the autumn of 2010 Jay began writing in a freelance capacity and joined PhilliesNation.com as a minor league contributor and is also a correspondent and panelist on the show of the same name.