Phillies Notes: Franco among September call-ups

Phillies prospect Maikel Franco. (Ed Hille/Staff Photographer)

ATLANTA - The Phillies promoted prospect Maikel Franco, who will become the team's youngest position player since Jimmy Rollins made his debut in 2000. Franco, 22, could start Tuesday at Turner Field against Braves lefthander Mike Minor.

The Dominican infielder was among seven September additions announced after Monday's no-hit win over the Braves. Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez, the $12 million mystery Cuban import who has thrived as a reliever, was another.

Infielder Cesar Hernandez, catcher Cameron Rupp, righthander Luis Garcia, and outfielder Tony Gwynn Jr. earned promotions. Veteran righthander Mike Adams was activated from the disabled list and will attempt to make yet another comeback from shoulder problems.

The headliner is Franco, who finished the triple-A season with a .257 batting average and .727 OPS as one of the youngest players in the International League. He recovered from a slow start. The key was a two-day break at the end of June, which included instruction by former Phillies manager Charlie Manuel. Since then, Franco batted .324 with a .927 OPS.

He signed in 2010 as an international free agent for $100,000.

The list of Phillies position players younger than Franco in the last 30 seasons is two names long: Jimmy Rollins and Scott Rolen. Rollins debuted at 21 years, 295 days old. Rolen was 21 years, 119 days old when he debuted in 1996. Both became franchise cornerstones by age 25.

How much Franco, a righthanded batter, plays in September is a debated subject. He could see at-bats at either first or third whenever the Phillies face a lefthander. And the team will have a designated hitter for three games at Oakland, which should free a spot for Franco.

The September promotion increases the chances that Franco will reach free agency after the 2020 season. But that was probable given the strong likelihood of Franco's being on next season's opening-day roster. He had to be added to the 40-man roster this winter to protect him from Rule 5 selection.

If Franco returns to the minors next season for two months, his free agency could be delayed until after the 2021 season. A player gains free-agent rights with six full years of service time.


Extra bases

Rollins established a new franchise record with his 658th multihit game. That broke Richie Ashburn's mark. Rollins singled, doubled, and tripled Monday. . . . A.J. Burnett on Sunday became the first Phillies pitcher with 15 losses in a season since Mark Leiter lost 17 in 1997.