NEW YORK -- Maikel Franco is making his case to play and stay since Phillies manager Gabe Kapler dropped him to the No. 8 spot in the lineup and as the front office considers upgrades on the left side of the infield.Franco ripped a two-out, three-run home run to left
NEW YORK -- Maikel Franco is making his case to play and stay since Phillies manager Gabe Kapler dropped him to the No. 8 spot in the lineup and as the front office considers upgrades on the left side of the infield.
Franco ripped a two-out, three-run home run to left field in the second inning Tuesday night in a 7-3 victory over the Mets at Citi Field. He also singled to score a run in the sixth inning. Franco, who finished 2-for-4 with the home run and four RBIs, is hitting .440 (11-for-25) with one double, two home runs, seven RBIs and a 1.237 OPS in eight games since Kapler started hitting him eighth on July 3. He is hitting .412 with a 1.180 OPS in 17 games since June 23.
"I'm seeing the ball better," Franco said. "Everything is just going better for me right now. I want to stay positive every single day. Keep working hard every single day. And don't be like too comfortable. Do whatever I do -- hitting in the cage, hitting in batting practice, taking my ground balls -- do everything I can do to get better every single day to help my team win."
"The patience [at the plate] I think is notable," Kapler said. "A few more foul balls and then getting the ball in the air a little bit better."
Perhaps trade speculation has motivated him, too. MLB Network's Ken Rosenthal reported recently that the Padres have interest in Franco. The Phillies also are looking for upgrades on the left side of the infield. Assuming they do not acquire Orioles shortstop Manny Machado, they could turn to somebody like Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas, Rays third baseman Matt Duffy or Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre, if he changes his mind about leaving Texas.
"I always want to play well," Franco said. "I always want to perform well. I want to do everything well for me and for my team. So, sometimes we have to understand -- sometimes that's baseball. You don't want to strike out. You don't want to make an error. But all you can do is go out there and play the game the right way. If something like that happens, you have to stay positive. Nothing bothers me. Nothing changed. I just want to be me. I just want to try to do my best that I can. Right now, everything is going well."
Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.