Maikel Franco arrived Tuesday afternoon at Citizens Bank Park, glanced at the Phillies lineup, and saw his name missing for a fifth-straight game.
The Phillies have shifted Franco to a platoon-role at third base, reserving him mostly for lefthanded pitchers. But Franco said there is no indication if he will play Wednesday against Rockies lefthander Tyler Anderson. Thus is the life of a platoon player.
“I have to get used to it,” Franco said. “I have to be positive no matter what’s going to happen, no matter if it’s a bad moment or a tough moment. I always try to just be confident and be in my line and do everything that I can do.”
Franco entered Tuesday batting .182 with a .232 on-base percentage in 82 plate appearances since he ended May 9 batting a season-high .292 with a .325 on-base percentage. His average has since dropped 35 points and his on-base percentage 37 points. His on-base percentage (.285) is the fourth-lowest mark among all major-league third baseman.
His struggles coincided with the return of J.P. Crawford, who the Phillies have played at third since he was activated last week from the disabled list. Perhaps a platoon against lefthanded pitching could suit Franco well. His OPS is nearly 100 points higher against lefthanders than righthanders. That logic could be tested Wednesday if Franco sees his name in the lineup Wednesday.
“It’s not frustrating,” Franco said. “I understand what happened. I understand the situation. I just try to wait for my moment. Every time that I’m in the lineup, I just try to do my best.”
Gabe Kapler stepped onto the platform behind the Phillies batting cage on Tuesday afternoon and claimed a prime spot to watch Alec Bohm take his first swings at Citizens Bank Park.
Bohm, who the Phillies signed Tuesday after drafting him last week with the No. 3 pick, hit a deep batting-practice blast to left and tucked a homer into the left-center stands. Phillies amateur scouting director Johnny Almaraz labeled Bohm as “a power-hitting third baseman. And Bohm came as advertised.
But the Phillies manager was already impressed before he climbed behind the cage. Bohm stopped in Kapler’s office before heading to batting practice. It was a fun conversation, Kapler said. Bohm, Kapler said, has a “really advanced mind” when it comes to hitting.
“One of the things that stood out to me was that he knew how and why opposing pitchers were attacking him at Wichita State,” Kapler said. “They were attacking him up and in. We talked about how that’s not unusual when you have a big, strong guy with a presence in the box. That’s generally the first pitch opposing pitchers go to see if you can get to that pitch. Interestingly, he was advanced enough to know that that wasn’t always the pitch he wanted to drive. It was kind of refreshing to talk to a guy who’s a college hitter and doesn’t have the exposure that our guys do but to be so advanced. The presence is really strong, too. He walks into a room, you know he’s there.”
The Phillies wore their cream-colored Sunday uniforms because they are still waiting for a protective red helmet for Rhys Hoskins. The Phillies were only sent a blue helmet, which matches the Sunday jerseys…Jerad Eickhoff had a cortisone shot Monday and the Phillies do not have a timetable for his return…Nick Pivetta will start Wednesday against Colorado lefthander Tyler Anderson.