ST. PETERSBURG — INF Nick Franklin can't do anything about what went wrong this season, from the late spring oblique injury to the extended exile in Triple A. But he can do something with whatever opportunity he gets these next few weeks to improve his status for 2016.
Tuesday, that meant coming off the bench to replace injured SS Asdrubal Cabrera and hitting a two-run go-ahead homer that gave the Rays a 6-3 win over the Yankees.
"It means a lot, obviously,'' Franklin said. "I think that the season didn't start off the way I wanted it to and I think, for me to get sent down and get my things back together, I think that was very helpful for me. … It's unfortunate that Cabby had to come out, but I was glad that I could contribute somewhat."
Franklin wasn't the whole story as the Rays (70-74) snapped a three-game skid.
RHP Jake Odorizzi survived home runs by Alex Rodriguez (playing with a bone bruise in his left knee) and Greg Bird to get the win. Rookie OF Mikie Mahtook took advantage of earned playing time, delivering three hits. CF Kevin Kiermaier made another sensational catch in a key seventh-inning moment. C J.P. Arencibia added another timely hit, giving him 15 RBIs in 17 games. And RHP Brandon Gomes battled through an adventurous ninth for his first big-league save.
Manager Kevin Cash called it "a good win" for a lot of reasons.
Especially for Franklin, who, depending on whether free-agent-to-be Cabrera is re-signed, could have a shot at the starting shortstop job. "We still have very much high hopes for Nick Franklin to be in the mix, and compete, and help us win next year,'' Cash said.
CABRERA OUT: Cabrera left after four innings with a left knee strain that happened coming out of the box on a swing. X-rays were negative, with Cash saying he is "probably more day to day,'' with more info expected today.
NOT-SO-MINOR MANNERS: There couldn't have been much debate as the Rays named LHP Blake Snell their minor-league pitcher of the year and INF Richie Shaffer their top player.
Snell, who won last year also, was 15-4 with a 1.41 ERA during a tremendous season in which he advanced from Class A Charlotte to Double-A Montgomery to Triple-A Durham and dominated at each level. He has already been named minor-league player of the year by USA Today and is a strong candidate to win again when Baseball America names its choice today.
Shaffer is finishing his season with the Rays after hitting 26 homers, with a .267 average, while moving from Montgomery to Durham. "It's an honor and the culmination of a lot of the hard work I've put in over the past two years," he said.
The Rays also named OF Joey Rickard as their baserunner of the year, RHP Brad Schreiber top reliever and OF Braxton Lee top defensive player. RHP Mark Sappington was named the Erik Walker Community Champion.
Winners will be honored in a pregame ceremony Friday.
MEDICAL MATTERS: Cash said C Curt Casali (hamstring) and OF Desmond Jennings (knee) continue to progress but there are no set dates for their returns. … LHP Xavier Cedeno, out since Sept. 5 with tightness in his left side, felt good after another bullpen session and hopes to throw to hitters Thursday and return soon thereafter.
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MISCELLANY: Boxing legend Jake LaMotta, subject of the movie Raging Bull, was on the field pregame. … 2B Logan Forsythe's first-inning single snapped the Rays' three-game 0-for-12 skid with runners in scoring position.