Franco (illness) will serve as the Phillies' designated hitter and bat sixth in Wednesday's Grapefruit League game against the Yankees. Franco has battled the flu in recent days, but his inclusion in the lineup suggests he's moved past the ailment. The 26-year-old is poised to open the season as the Phillies' primary third baseman, but he won't necessarily be extended a full-time role with the team eager to find at-bats for utility man Scott Kingery.
Franco has been battling the flu in recent days, Meghan Montemurro of The Athletic reports. The illness explains why Franco has been out of the lineup for several days. He's gone 5-for-25 with one homer so far this spring.
Franco is in an open competition with Scott Kingery to be the Phillies' starting third baseman, Scott Lauber of The Philadelphia Inquirer reports. Franco probably saved his Phillies career with a hot stretch in the middle of last season, but his final line (.270/.314/.467 with 22 homers in 131 games) wasn't anything special. Kingery did very little with his bat as a rookie but is theoretically a better defender, though he started just eight times at third base last season. The battle will be rendered moot if the Phillies manage to land Manny Machado, who they've reportedly targeted, though there have been no recent suggestions that a deal is imminent.
Franco signed a one-year, $5.2 million deal with Philadelphia to avoid arbitration, Todd Zolecki of MLB.com reports. Franco once again showed some pop during the 2018 campaign, launching 22 homers and driving in 68 runs in 131 games. He's on track to begin the 2019 year as the starting third baseman and will shift his focus to getting ready for spring training after coming to terms with Philadelphia.
Franco is not in the lineup Sunday against the Braves, Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports. This will be the seventh game in a row Franco will miss after sitting out much of September with a plethora of injuries. Assuming he won't make a pinch-hit appearance, the 26-year-old will finish the season with a .270/.314/.467 slash line, a vast improvement from last season. Carlos Santana will man the hot corner in his stead.
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