Asche among 4 Phillies looking to bounce back

Asche among 4 Phillies looking to bounce back

PHILADELPHIA -- Spring Training in Clearwater, Fla., will look a heck of a lot different than any camp in recent memory.

Jimmy Rollins is more than a season removed from Philly. Chase Utley and Cole Hamels will be in Arizona with the Dodgers and Rangers, respectively. Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee are long gone, too. The only two holdovers from the 2008 World Series championship team are Ryan Howard and Carlos Ruiz, and it sounds like both of them will have reduced roles this season.

Phillies pitchers and catchers hold their first workout on Feb. 18, with the first full-squad workout set for Feb. 23. breaks down camp in a seven-part series that begins with a look at the players hoping to rebound in 2016:

• Spring Training information

OF/INF Cody Asche: This could be Asche's final season to prove himself in Philadelphia. He hit .245 with 22 doubles, three triples, 12 home runs, 39 RBIs and a .689 OPS in 456 plate appearances last season. If Asche had enough plate appearances to qualify, he would have ranked 121st out of 143 players in OPS. Manager Pete Mackanin already has said Odubel Herrera, Peter Bourjos and Aaron Altherr figure to get the bulk of the playing time in the outfield, which means Asche must produce whenever he has the opportunity.

"If you're not improving in this game it's kind of a loss," Asche said on the final day of the 2015 season. "You can sit and say what you are and who you think you are, but until you do it, it's really just talk. It's going to be a long offseason for me. I just have to stay disciplined to make sure I'm doing everything I can to get better."

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1B Ryan Howard: This is likely to be Howard's final season in Philadelphia -- the Phils are expected to take the $10 million buyout on his 2017 club option -- but can he leave on a high note? Mackanin already has said Howard will not play against left-handers if he cannot hit them. Howard essentially became a platoon player late last season, sharing time at first base with Darin Ruf. Howard has had a rough time since he ruptured his Achilles in the 2011 National League Division Series. He would love to show he has something left in the tank.

C Carlos Ruiz: This also figures to be Ruiz's final season in Philly. The Phillies have a $500,000 buyout on a 2017 club option. Ruiz endured his worst season at the plate in 2015, posting a .575 OPS. Ruiz said he understood why Carmeron Rupp earned more playing time than him, but Ruiz said he still believes he can be a No. 1 catcher. He will have the opportunity to prove it this spring.

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OF Peter Bourjos: Everybody knows Bourjos is one of the best defensive center fielders, although it remains to be seen if he plays center or one of the corner spots for Mackanin. But Bourjos will have to hit better than he has in recent years. He had a .623 OPS in 225 plate appearances last season with St. Louis and a combined .645 OPS in 910 plate appearances over the past four seasons.

Todd Zolecki is a reporter for Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone, follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.