NEW YORK -- For the first time in days, Maikel Franco tested his swollen left wrist Friday. By hitting off a tee and taking rounds of front toss in the indoor cages of Citi Field, Franco took tangible steps toward returning to a Phillies lineup that has been without him for four games.
The drills came a day after an MRI revealed no structural damage in Franco's wrist. He classified the injury as a bone bruise.
"Right now its much better," said Franco. "I know its nothing crazy, so let's take it day by day."
The pain, Franco said, stems back to an at-bat against Blue Jays reliever Joe Biagini on Aug. 26 in Toronto, when the righty jammed Franco with an inside fastball. He attempted to play through it in the days that followed, going hitless in 13 a-bats. Franco then missed all three games in Miami this week.
He was out of the lineup again Friday, but Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said "at this moment, he's available and ready to hit for us."
Franco was less certain.
"If they need me for one at-bat, I'll try to do it," he said. "In the next couple days, I'll be able to do everything."
The third baseman is hitting .267/.311/.470 with 22 home runs and 66 RBIs this season, but he has been markedly better than that since turning his year around in late June. Since June 23, he's hit .294/.338/.531 with 13 home runs and 30 RBIs in 61 games.
A familiar face arrived in the Phillies' clubhouse Friday, when the club recalled Andrew Knapp from Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Knapp spent much of the season as Philadelphia's backup catcher, but he was optioned when the club activated Wilson Ramos on Aug. 15. Knapp returned for a one-game stint later in the month before being optioned again. He's played in 69 games for the Phillies this season in all, hitting .216 with four home runs and 15 RBIs.
Primarily a catcher throughout his professional career, Knapp played left field and third base during this recent Minor League stint in an effort to improve his versatility. The addition of Knapp gives the Phillies three catchers and swells their active roster to 35.
Aaron Altherr returned to the Phillies' starting lineup for the first time since July 20, as Kapler penciled the center fielder into the No. 3 slot in his lineup opposite Mets lefty Steven Matz. Altherr's start had as much to do with matchups as it did with a minor injury to Roman Quinn. Kapler said Quinn, who started three of the past four games in center, was originally slated to start before he fouled a ball off his foot pregame. Kapler said Quinn would be available off the bench instead.
For Altherr, the assignment marks his first chance to turn around what's been a lost season. After breaking out with a .272/.340/.516 line and 19 home runs in 2017, Altherr regressed mightily as a 27-year-old this spring. He hit .171 across 89 games before being demoted just prior to the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline.