After sitting out back-to-back games against the Kansas City Royals, Tampa Bay Rays shortstop Wander Franco is in the lineup for Saturday’s third game of a four-game series.
Franco was benched Thursday and Friday for how he has handled frustrations this season.
He will bat second Saturday against Kansas City starting pitcher Jordan Lyles.
“It’s been hard, really hard, not being with team,” Franco said through a translator. “I’m happy to be back. It’s been difficult.”
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While Rays manager Kevin Cash declined to get into specifics on what led to Franco’s benching, multiple instances this season involving Franco are believed to have led to it.
Franco has had baserunning lapses, failed to run out ground balls at times and shattered his bat after an at-bat Wednesday, according to The Associated Press.
The young shortstop also had a verbal altercation in the dugout with teammate Randy Arozarena in May, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
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“I think they’re doing a good job in the way they’ve controlled the situation,” Franco said. “I’ve been with this organization a long time, and I think they’ve controlled the situation well with the errors that I’ve made.”
Cash told reporters Thursday the organization will work with Franco.
“Wander is a really good kid, really good person. He's a young player that is learning and dealing with the challenges of being a Major League player and some of the frustrations that come with it,” Cash said.
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“Over the course of this season, there's been probably multiple times that the way he has handled his frustrations have not been the way that we ask our players to uphold being the best teammate.”
Franco signed an 11-year, $182-million guaranteed contract in November 2021.
The Associated Press contributed to this report