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Report: Phillies have discussed demoting Maikel Franco to Triple-A


Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco has had a dismal season. Though his 2016 campaign wasn’t anything special, he hit 25 home runs and hit 88 RBI, showing enough promise that he could eventually become the Phillies’ third baseman of the future. This season, though, he’s skidding to a .209/.268/.349 batting line with only six home runs and 28 RBI in 190 plate appearances.

Franco looked so out of sorts at the plate that manager Pete Mackanin benched him for a couple of games during the team’s recent series against the Rockies. He’s once again not in the lineup for Tuesday’s game, though that’s apparently due to an illness.

Per CSN Philly’s Jim Salisbury,¬†Mackanin said that the idea of demoting Franco to Triple-A Lehigh Valley has been discussed. He still has options, so¬†that call is entirely up to the team.

Franco isn’t the only Phillie struggling mightily at the plate. 2016 All-Star Odubel Herrera has a .592 OPS. Freddy Galvis has a .681 OPS, and Michael Saunders is at .673. That helps explain why the Phillies have baseball’s worst record at 17-32.

Clayton Kershaw completes spring training with a 0.00 ERA

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Clayton Kershaw had nothing left to prove when he exited the mound during his last Cactus League start on Friday. He finished camp with a 0.00 ERA, made all the more impressive after he extended his scoreless streak to 21 1/3 innings following 6 2/3 frames of one-hit ball against the Royals.

In six spring training starts this year, the Dodgers southpaw racked up 12 hits, four walks and 23 strikeouts. His velocity appeared to fluctuate between the high-80s and low-90s from start to start, but manager Dave Roberts told reporters that he expects Kershaw to get back up to the 93 m.p.h. range next week. Kershaw is tabbed for his eighth consecutive Opening Day start on Thursday.

The 30-year-old lefty is poised to enter his 11th season with the club in 2018. He went 18-4 in 27 starts last year and turned in a 2.31 ERA, 1.5 BB/9 and 10.4 SO/9 over 175 innings. He suffered his fair share of bumps and bruises along the way, including a lower back strain that required a five-week stay on the disabled list.

The Dodgers will open their season against the Giants on Thursday, March 29 at 7:08 PM ET. Given the sudden rash of injuries that hit the Giants’ rotation earlier today, Kershaw’s Opening Day opponent has not yet been announced.