Cody Asche leaves spring training game with a hand injury

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Phillies third baseman Cody Asche was hit in the right hand with a fastball from Pirates pitcher Yao-Hsun Yang in the bottom of the fifth inning this afternoon. Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer described the uncomfortable sound as “that of a ball hitting helmet”. Asche was taken out of the game under his own power and replaced by prospect Maikel Franco. He will undergo evaluations and we should hear the results tomorrow, if not later today.

[Update: Preliminary results on Asche’s ultrasound came up negative, per MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki.]

Although Franco is a third baseman and the Phillies’ best prospect according to most, the Phillies can’t be happy with what they saw. Franco is still rough around the edges and would benefit from starting the season with Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Asche is no superstar, but is a dependable stopgap who provided decent production at the hot corner last season.

Indians’ Kluber has cast removed, making progress

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CLEVELAND (AP) Indians ace Corey Kluber had the hard cast protecting his broken right arm removed and the two-time Cy Young winner is healing as hoped.

Kluber underwent imaging texts Thursday, which showed that his ulna is mending properly. Cleveland manager Terry Francona said Kluber can begin range of motion and that he will be re-examined in two weeks.

The right-hander broke his arm when he was struck flush by a line drive hit by Miami’s Brian Anderson on May 1. At the time, the Indians said surgery wasn’t needed, and Francona said the medical staff told him Kluber was having “expected healing.”

Kluber has been fitted with a protective brace. He said it was a relief to have the cast off and is excited that he “can do a lot more now.”

The 33-year-old ran sprints in the outfield before the series opener against Tampa Bay.

Kluber won 20 games last season and at least 18 in each of the past three seasons. He is 2-3 with a 5.80 ERA in seven starts this year.

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