CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Maikel Franco is known for his power, not his speed.He still is, even after he hit an inside-the-park home run in the sixth inning of Saturday's 6-5 walk-off victory over the Yankees in a Grapefruit League game at Spectrum Field.• Spring Training: Info | Tickets | Schedule |
CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Maikel Franco is known for his power, not his speed.
He still is, even after he hit an inside-the-park home run in the sixth inning of Saturday's 6-5 walk-off victory over the Yankees in a Grapefruit League game at Spectrum Field.
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"Did you see my speed?" Franco joked afterward. "Like Cesar [Hernandez] speed."
Franco ripped a ball to center field, but the ball deflected off Yankees center fielder Tyler Wade's glove and scooted underneath the fence. Wade raised his arms to call the ball unplayable, except he never got his wish. Franco had stopped at second, but trotted to third as Wade stared at the ball. Franco reached third then sprinted home once he realized the ball still remained deep in the outfield.
OK, the homer could have been ruled a hit and an error, but it counts.
"I mean, I don't really know what happened," Franco said.
Franco homered the traditional way in the fourth when he ripped a 2-2 slider from left-hander Dietrich Enns for a solo shot to left.
Franco said he liked the fourth-inning homer better than the inside-the-parker.
"The second one, I had to run too much," he said.
Phillies manager Pete Mackanin liked Franco's first homer better, too.
"He worked the count deep into it, and that was really good to see," Mackanin said.
This is an important season for Franco. He hit .255 with 25 home runs, 88 RBIs and a .733 OPS last season, which was his first full season in the big leagues. But his .732 OPS as a third baseman ranked 18th out of 20 qualified third basemen.
If Franco doesn't improve, the Phillies could keep a closer eye on Orioles third baseman Manny Machado, who will become a free agent following the 2018 season.
"I think I can do better," Franco said. "This year, I have put a lot of work and focus on what I have to do. This year should be very good and much better than last year."
Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast.