Maikel Franco was out of the Phillies’ starting lineup for the third straight game on Wednesday night because of a sore right knee.
Manager Pete Mackanin said Franco might be available to pinch hit. Franco said he thought there was a good chance he could play on Thursday night. Franco was to be checked by a team doctor before Wednesday night’s game.
“It’s feeling better today,” Franco said.
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Franco twisted his knee in a rundown play Sunday in Washington. He immediately came up limping but was able to stay in the game and, in fact, hit a home run in the top of the ninth inning. The next day, he awakened in Toronto and felt some pain in the knee. There was also some swelling. Franco said the swelling had subsided on Wednesday.
Franco was able to take ground balls during batting practice Wednesday, a potentially good sign.
Andres Blanco got the start at third base on Wednesday night.
In other health news, reliever Dalier Hinojosa, out since late April with a right hand contusion, is scheduled to throw live batting practice in Clearwater on Friday. Hinojosa took a line drive off the hand April 28.
Meanwhile, starter Vince Velasquez, on the disabled list with a strained right biceps, continues to make good progress. He has been playing catch pain-free. The Phillies will continue to exercise caution in bringing Velasquez back. It would not be surprising to see him do some minor-league rehab work. The Phillies had wanted to watch Velasquez’s workload anyway so a little slow-down would help in that regard.
“There’s no need to rush him,” Mackanin said. “I’d like to get another look at Zach Eflin.”
Eflin replaced Velasquez in the rotation Tuesday and was roughed up for nine runs (three homers) by Toronto in his big-league debut (see story).