Phillies call up top prospect Maikel Franco from Triple-A

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The Phillies announced their September call-ups following their no-hitter of the Braves this afternoon, which most notably included the promotion of top prospect Maikel Franco from Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

Franco was ranked as the game’s No. 22 prospect Baseball America coming into the season, but he batted just .209 with five home runs and a .585 OPS through his first 78 games. However, as Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com noted in July, he saw a turnaround following a visit from former Phillies manager Charlie Manuel. The 22-year-old hit .324 with 11 homers and a .922 OPS from July-August and wrapped up his season today by going 1-for-3 with a double.

Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg recently told Todd Zolecki of MLB.com that they won’t try Cody Asche in the outfield this month, so Franco figures to see part-time duty between third base and first base this month. He could make his major league debut tomorrow with left-hander Mike Minor on the hill for Atlanta.

Aaron Hicks to go on the disabled list with an oblique injury

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Yankees outfielder Aaron Hicks left Sunday’s game against the Rangers after four innings due to soreness in his right oblique. After the game, Hicks said he expects to go on the 10-day disabled list and miss the next three to four weeks, MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch reports.

Hicks was 1-for-2 with a single before departing on Sunday. He entered the game batting .288/.397/.515 with 10 home runs and 37 RBI in 198 plate appearances. It is by far the best season of his career.

Jacoby Ellsbury is on his way back from a concussion, so the Yankees will only have to bridge the gap in center field for a week or two. Mason Williams could draw some starts in center field in the meantime.

Report: Phillies making Maikel Franco available in trade discussions

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Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports that the Phillies are making third baseman Maikel Franco “more than available” in trade discussions.

Franco, 24, is having an abysmal season after showing promise in 2015 and ’16. Through 289 plate appearances, he’s hitting .221/.280/.365 with nine home runs and 37 RBI. His hitting has tanked and his already below-average defense hasn’t shown any improvement.

It’s a bit surprising that the Phillies would be so eager to move Franco with his value about as low as it can go. Franco is also under control of the rebuilding Phillies through the 2021 season, so the team doesn’t have to rush into moving him. He will become eligible for arbitration for the first time after the season.

Furthermore, the Phillies don’t have an immediate replacement for Franco at third base. Andres Blanco would likely get everyday starts at the hot corner in the short-term, but as far as prospects go, there are no third baseman banging down the door. If the Phillies were to trade Franco, it would likely have to be in return for a young, talented third baseman who will be under team control for several more years.