Hart Sent to the DL, Franklin Called Up
After coming up lame on Sunday while trying to steal second base, the Seattle Mariners‘ DH, Corey Hart, pulled a hamstring. The news was not good when he was examined by team medical director Edward Khalfayan.
Hart has a grade-2 hamstring strain. Grade 3 is considered the worst, so I suppose it’s not as bad as it could be. Regardless, the diagnosis means that Hart is going to be out around six weeks.
As bad of news as it is for Hart, it does open the door for Nick Franklin to return to the big league club.
After losing the short stop competition to Brad Miller to start the year, Franklin has been dominant down in AAA Tacoma. Franklin was batting .376 with a .481 on-base percentage, had hit seven homers and driven in 26 RBIs. The .376 batting average was good enough to be tops in the PCL this year.
Where Does Franklin Fit In?
Franklin is going to play a bit at second base to give Robinson Cano a day off here and there from playing in the field. Cano likely will slide into the DH spot when Franklin plays second.
Miller continues to struggle without end at short, but M’s skipper, Lloyd McClendon, has maintained through nearly two months of the season that Miller is his guy at short. To his credit, he has moved Miller down to the nine hole in the lineup, but one wonders how much longer McClendon can afford that mindset.
Miller is batting just .155 on the season with an OBP of just .227. He has struck out a whopping 40 times on the season, and we aren’t even finished with May yet. He’s not showing any signs of improvement, either, as he has just three hits in his last 43 ABs for a pathetic .069 batting average over that span.
Franklin is a natural shortstop. He was drafted a shortstop and has been playing short at AAA. If Miller doesn’t snap out of his funk soon, Franklin could wind up in this role full time.
For the time being, look for Franklin to give Miller days off at short.
Obviously, Franklin is not a prototypical DH kind of a player, but I do think you are going to see him in the DH spot like we did on Tuesday night — his first game since being recalled.
In that game, Franklin had a couple of hits and drove in a run. That means his two hits in his first game since being recalled already matches the two hits he had in April when he went 2-for-16 in seven games during the mid part of April.
I’m not sure what I saw on Tuesday night, but Franklin looked different in that game somehow. He was more relaxed, more confident and seemed like a guy who belonged batting in the big leagues. During his previous call up he did not have that look.
If Franklin has really found the confidence in his swing that we saw last summer, it’s going to be tough for McClendon to keep him out of the lineup.
Another solid hitter certainly would be welcome news to all Seattle Mariner fans.