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Franco hurt on Harper-esque slip on first base

Special to MLB.com

WASHINGTON -- Maikel Franco said he's dealing with lower back tightness after slipping on first base and leaving the Phillies' 8-6 loss to the Nationals on Sunday night in the eighth inning. The third baseman said he might play against the Yankees on Monday night.

If Franco has to sit, the Phillies might switch around their infield, since J.P. Crawford is on the disabled list (broken left hand) and Jesmuel Valentin is on paternity leave. However, they could just replace Franco with Mitch Walding at third base. Walding took over for Franco on Sunday, but it was ony his third appearance at third base for the Phillies. He has eight career at-bats and one career start, his big league debut on May 30. Franco is hitting .256 with with nine home runs and had been especially hot lately, going 4-for-4 on Saturday.

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WASHINGTON -- Maikel Franco said he's dealing with lower back tightness after slipping on first base and leaving the Phillies' 8-6 loss to the Nationals on Sunday night in the eighth inning. The third baseman said he might play against the Yankees on Monday night.

If Franco has to sit, the Phillies might switch around their infield, since J.P. Crawford is on the disabled list (broken left hand) and Jesmuel Valentin is on paternity leave. However, they could just replace Franco with Mitch Walding at third base. Walding took over for Franco on Sunday, but it was ony his third appearance at third base for the Phillies. He has eight career at-bats and one career start, his big league debut on May 30. Franco is hitting .256 with with nine home runs and had been especially hot lately, going 4-for-4 on Saturday.

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Before Sunday's game, Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said he might move Cesar Hernandez from second base to shortstop or Jorge Alfaro from catcher to third base if there's an injury. However, catcher Andrew Knapp left Sunday's game in the seventh inning with a right knee contusion, so Alfaro will probably be needed behind the plate. Alfaro is hitting .242 with five home runs. Knapp is hitting .198 with 13 walks and 39 strikeouts.

While sprinting down the first base line in the eighth inning Sunday, Franco slipped on the first-base bag, his left knee locked and he fell. Franco remained on the ground for about a minute while trainers checked on him before he slowly stood up. The 25-year-old remained in the game to run the bases, but Walding replaced him in the bottom of the eighth inning.

"That was scary," Franco said.

The play was similar to one that saw Bryce Harper injured in August last season.

Video: SF@WSH: Harper injures knee slipping on first base

Kyle Melnick is a contributor to MLB.com based in Washington.

Philadelphia Phillies, Maikel Franco