In Egypt, a man sits in a prison cell. He is, it is said, close to death. His crime, as ludicrous as it might sound, was to write a blog. Nothing more, nothing less. He has been in jail since March. More pertinent is the fact that Maikel has been on hunger strike for two months and doctors fear he does not have long left to live. That is all.
'It's all part of it,' but what's next for Maikel Franco's future with Phillies?
Prior to his game with Triple A affiliate Lehigh Valley, Franco was wearing a shirt with a saying across the front:. Franco is ready to embrace the next part of his baseball career, which has been a demotion from the Phillies to the minor leagues. The big club optioned Franco to the IronPigs last Sunday in a sudden and somewhat surprising move given the year-old had been the Phillies' starting third baseman for the past four opening days. I caught up with the 3rd basemen on his demotion. Following a torrid start in which he put up six homers, 17 RBIs and 11 walks over his first 16 games, Franco cooled off considerably.
After a hot start, Maikel Franco is struggling. Philadelphia Phillies manager Gabe Kapler opened Spring Training by saying that Scott Kingery, a natural second baseman, was going to compete with Maikel Franco for time at third base. But with Kingery nearing a return from a hamstring injury, it may be Franco, who has struggled offensively in May, that stands to lose the most playing time. In the last seven days, Franco is hitting just. After tallying four hits in nine at-bats — two of which were home runs — in the Phillies season-opening series in the final days of March, Franco only hit. The difference between April and May is that in April, Franco hit five home runs, drove in 15 runs and walked 11 times. In May, he has zero home runs and has walked just three times. The Colorado Rockies, ironically, are in Philadelphia this weekend. One of the positions that Kingery gets some time at will almost certainly be second base.
It feels like a decade since the Phillies have had a moment like that. But it actually happened less than two years ago. Maikel Franco hit one out to left field against the Marlins as part of a four-run 9th inning to give the Phils a win and a half-game lead in the National League East. Watching that game now, less than two years removed from when it actually occurred, is quite remarkable because of who is no longer with the team. Of the eight position players that started that game, only Rhys Hoskins projects to be in the club's Opening Day lineup whenever baseball returns. Odubel Herrera and Nick Williams remain with the organization but there's a good chance neither plays a big league game again for the Phillies.