Nick Franklin being called up
Looking to bolster an offense that has totaled just seven runs over their last five games, the Mariners are recalling young infielder Nick Franklin from Triple-A Tacoma in time to join the team for its Wednesday night game with the Rangers.
The Mariners have not confirmed the move, but Franklin was taken out of Tuesday’s game in Tacoma in the eighth inning and a source confirmed the youngster is enroute to Arlington as of Wednesday morning.
Franklin himself tweeted a message Wednesday morning indicating he was flying to Texas, with the letters TEX separated by airplane symbols.
Franklin, 23, was Seattle’s starting second baseman for the final four months of the season last year, but lost that job when the club signed Robinson Cano. He competed with Brad Miller for the shortstop position in Spring Training, but was sent to Tacoma after Miller had an outstanding spring.
The 2009 first-round Draft pick out of Orlando, Fla., hit .225 with 12 home runs and 45 RBIs in 102 games for the Mariners last year.
Franklin, a switch hitter, was off to a torrid start in Tacoma, batting .395 with three doubles, four home runs and 13 RBIs in 11 games. He’d played six games at second base and five games at shortstop for the Rainiers, but it’s not clear where the Mariners intend to use him.
Miller is hitting .214 with three home runs and six RBIs in 13 games at shortstop, but the bigger need appears to be right field, where Logan Morrison, Stefen Romero and Michael Saunders have been splitting time so far this year.
Morrison has missed the past two games with a tight hamstring and could be a candidate for the 15-day disabled list, which would open up a roster spot and potential playing time for Franklin.
Franklin played a few innings in right field late in Spring Training and played some outfield while growing up in Florida, but didn’t see any action there in Tacoma and has been strictly at second base and shortstop in his six years in the Mariners farm system.
After getting off to a nice start offensively, the Mariners (7-6) have been shut out three times in their past five games and have fallen to 13th among the 15 American League teams in batting average (.230) and OPS (.663).
Their right fielders have combined to hit .200 with no home runs, three RBIs and a .506 OPS in 50 at-bats.