Outlook: Asche is odds-on favorite to start at third

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Cody Asche is the heavy favorite to be the Phillies' Opening Day third baseman, but nothing is guaranteed.

"We have competitions at lot of different spots," Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said Wednesday.Top

Maikel Franco, the club's No. 2-ranked prospect, according to MLB.com, also plays third base. Both Asche and Franco are talented players who play the same position, although the Phillies have been working out Franco at first base to give him a little more versatility.

"Really good moves at third base," Sandberg said about Franco. "Real good glove. He has a knack for the harder the play it is, the softer he is. I don't know where he got that. I haven't asked him. That's instincts. That is second-nature stuff. I've seen him in live [batting practice] have a good, quality swing already. He's shown a lot of good stuff. I see him working real hard. He's around a lot of good guys."

Worth noting

• The Phillies are really stressing fundamentals during their workouts.

"I know the importance of fundamentals," Sandberg said. "Having the drills and starting it now really gets the guys thinking. We're going to stress them and we're going to do them daily. We're going to repeat them. That's going to be a routine set in Spring Training. We will do them throughout the season. It's really creating a routine so the players will adapt to it and get used to it. Stressing fundamentals, you'll see a lot of that this spring."

• A rabid possum sat on the fence at Ashburn Field at Carpenter Complex before it could be captured and set free in the wood nearby.

"They're nasty, man," pitching coach Bob McClure said.

"One of those ospreys didn't go down and clean him off?" Sandberg said. "I saw an osprey with a nice keeper, about a 13-incher."