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Franklin adds versatility to infield rotation

Switch-hitter returned from rehab stint this past Saturday
MLB.com @wwchastain

ATLANTA -- Nick Franklin arrived in such a hurry on Sunday that Rays manager Kevin Cash opted to wait before talking to the infielder about his role with the team now that he's off the disabled list.

"We had a great conversation today," said Cash of Franklin, who finished his rehab at Triple-A Durham on Saturday before flying to Minnesota to meet the team on Sunday. "Nick's been very in tune to what's going on here. Followed us a lot [while he was on the DL]. He's excited to join us. He's going to definitely have a valuable role for us."

Full Game Coverage

ATLANTA -- Nick Franklin arrived in such a hurry on Sunday that Rays manager Kevin Cash opted to wait before talking to the infielder about his role with the team now that he's off the disabled list.

"We had a great conversation today," said Cash of Franklin, who finished his rehab at Triple-A Durham on Saturday before flying to Minnesota to meet the team on Sunday. "Nick's been very in tune to what's going on here. Followed us a lot [while he was on the DL]. He's excited to join us. He's going to definitely have a valuable role for us."

Full Game Coverage

Cash cited the fact that Franklin can be a switch-hitter off the bench on some nights, and be a starter on others.

"We will definitely get him some starts simply because we've asked a lot of Logan [Forsythe] and Cabby [Asdrubal Cabrera] early on this year," Cash said. "So we want to keep them fresh. We'll work him in probably a couple of times a week. Factoring in on how some of the other guys are doing."

In addition to Franklin, Forsythe, and Cabrera, the Rays have Tim Beckham in their middle infield rotation. Forsythe can play first base, as well. That flexibility will allow first baseman James Loney a day off from playing the field from time to time, like Saturday when he was the DH.

"Jay-Lo, to his credit, wants to be out there every day, wants to play," Cash said. "We like to have him out there. But we have to do some things that make sense. Because as much as these guys want to play. We want them to stay fresh enough to where they're producing and up to full strength."

Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. Listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Tampa Bay Rays, Nick Franklin