Second baseman Nick Franklin lost his job when the Mariners signed Robinson Cano to a monster contract and then predictably failed to beat out Brad Miller for the shortstop gig during spring training, at which point the Mariners sent him back to Triple-A.
Franklin took the demotion in stride, hitting .395 with four homers and a 1.214 OPS in 11 games for Tacoma, and now he’s headed back to the big leagues.
No official announcement has been made yet, but Franklin more or less tweeted out the news via emojis (what a world we live in, people). He’s expected to replace Logan Morrison, who injured his hamstring and is likely to be put on the disabled list.
Franklin has never played a position other than second base or shortstop in the majors or the minors, but he worked out some as an outfielder during spring training prepping for a situation just like this one.
MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosh reports that the Cardinals are shutting down pitcher Carlos Martínez from throwing for two weeks because his shoulder strength isn’t where it should have been at this point. Langosch added that an MRI showed no structural damage in Martínez’s right shoulder.
Interestingly, president of baseball operations John Mozeliak didn’t sound too happy with Martínez offseason training regimen. Per Mark Saxon of The Athletic, Mozeliak said, “Obviously, there’s a history with Carlos’ shoulder and it would be probably in everybody’s best interest if he maintained a constant or perpetual approach to that program.”
Martínez, 27, battled oblique and shoulder injuries last year. He accrued just 118 2/3 innings, making just 18 starts. He was moved to the bullpen when he returned from the disabled list in August and finished out the season in that role. Still, Martínez managed a 3.11 ERA with 117 strikeouts and 60 walks.
Langosch reported last week that the Cardinals were considering using Martínez in relief again in 2019. The latest news may push the Cardinals to indeed use Martínez out of the bullpen once again. He will be reevaluated in early March, but there is a chance he won’t be ready for Opening Day.