Maikel Franco started at third base and batted third Monday night for triple-A Lehigh Valley, his team for one more week. The minor-league season ends Sept. 1, the day major-league rosters can be expanded, but there is no decision on Franco's next destination.
Franco, who turns 22 on Tuesday, hit for the cycle Saturday. He had hits in 10 of his 16 weekend at bats. But there may not be playing time for him in the majors.
Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said he does not want to "bring him up here just to sit around." Manager Ryne Sandberg said there was a preliminary discussion about September promotions without a Franco decision.
"The biggest thing for him is playing time," Amaro said, "and making sure this is the right thing, the right atmosphere and the right time. ... We'd like to assess some other things. There are a lot of different factors. We still have time to make a decision on it."
A team official said Franco's recent hot streak could force a September call-up. Franco, one of the youngest players in the International League, had a .716 OPS entering Monday. Sandberg noted Franco's 31 doubles as an indicator of his improved production.
"He has as chance with this hot streak to really end on a good note from where the hole that he was in for probably two and a half months of the season," Sandberg said. "Really shows how far that he's come in a month and a half."
Franco can play first base, too. So either Cody Asche or Ryan Howard would have to lose at bats for Franco to play.
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