Albert Pujols took out newspaper ad to thank Cardinal Nation

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Albert Pujols purchased a full-page ad in the St. Louis Post Dispatch today to thank “the city of St. Louis and Cardinal Nation”:

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Maikel Franco benched for lack of hustle

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Phillies manager Gabe Kapler did not include third baseman Maikel Franco in Tuesday night’s lineup against the Dodgers because Franco didn’t hustle on a grounder he hit in the third inning on Monday, MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki reports. Franco is also dealing with groin tightness, but Kapler specified that Franco’s absence is punishment.

This was the play in question:

Franco is not the first Phillie to not hustle this season. Shortstop Jean Segura didn’t hustle on two separate occasions, but Kapler chose not to punish him. Kapler said, “Jean is one of our eight best players. I don’t think taking one of our eight best players and our shortstop out of our lineup is what’s best for the Philadelphia Phillies.”

This time around, Kapler said, “You guys know that these decisions or me taking a player out of the lineup in a punitive way is not my natural way of handling these type of situations. In this particular situation, I thought it was critical to address in part because right after some of the other incidents that we’ve had — I had a conversation with the club [at Nationals Park in Washington on June]. I shared with them that it’s not an acceptable level of effort and that we have to do a better job, so I thought this was the right time to make a change in this situation.”

Brad Miller started at third base in Franco’s place on Tuesday night and hit a two-run homer in the second inning.

Franco, 26, is hitting .238/.304/.440 with 15 home runs and 45 RBI in 313 plate appearances on the season.