Franco reaches two milestones on 21st birthday

Maikel Franco. (Please credit: Ralph Trout/Reading Fightin Phils)

READING -- Maikel Franco celebrated his 21st birthday in style. The Inquirer’s No. 1 Phillies prospect, Franco hit a game-tying two-run home run with two outs in the ninth inning and Kelly Dugan won the game with a solo shot in the 10th as Reading beat the visiting Richmond Flying Squirrels, 7-6 on Monday.

Besides helping Reading come back from a 6-1 deficit, Franco reached two milestones. It was his 30th home run of the season, 16 with Clearwater and now 14 with Reading.

In addition he now has exactly 100 RBIs, including 48 for Reading.

Franco is doing this while also learning a new position. A third baseman with a gun for an arm, he played first base for the first time on Saturday and is expected to be there the rest of the year.

The Phillies are not saying that he is shifting permanently to first, but want him to have the flexibility to play two positions.

Besides his towering two-run homer to left, Franco hit a deep fly to left-center that was caught in the first inning. He finished 1 for 4 with a walk and two runs scored and is now batting .328 for the Fightin Phils.