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Rays’ Wander Franco expected back in lineup ‘within a day or two’

The rookie shortstop left Thursday’s game during the seventh inning with a headache.
The Rays' Wander Franco points to his head after drawing a walk from the Red Sox's Eduardo Rodriguez in the seventh inning Thursday.
The Rays' Wander Franco points to his head after drawing a walk from the Red Sox's Eduardo Rodriguez in the seventh inning Thursday. [ CHRIS O'MEARA | Associated Press ]
Published Sep. 3
Updated Sep. 4

ST. PETERSBURG — Wander Franco wasn’t in the lineup Friday against the Twins, but Rays manager Kevin Cash said the shortstop should return by this weekend after tests for potential concussion syndrome were negative.

“He got a good night’s sleep, woke up and he’s in a much better place right now,’’ Cash said before the game. “We’re going to keep (Franco’s work) pretty light. I would anticipate as long as he continues to improve, (he will return to the lineup) within a day or two.’’

Franco, 20, was removed from Thursday’s game against the Red Sox during the seventh inning after he walked against left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez. After fouling off a full-count changeup, Franco stepped out of the batter’s box, winced and rubbed his right ear.

“Everything checked out (in the medical evaluation),’’ Cash said. “We don’t know if it was something that happened the night before or if a headache just popped up. Whatever it was, it was enough to make sense to get him out of the ballgame and have some tests. Fortunately for him and us, they were negative.’’

Franco has reached base in 33 straight games, tied for the third all-time longest on-base streak for a player age 20 or younger, trailing just Mickey Mantle (36, from 1951-52) and Frank Robinson (43 in 1956). It’s the longest active streak in the majors, the longest by a rookie in club history and the longest by a rookie shortstop since Hanley Ramirez reached in 36 straight games for the Marlins in 2006.

Overall, Franco is batting .275, with seven home runs and 35 RBIs in 56 games.

Archer up again

Chris Archer makes his third start today after coming off the injured list. The right-hander is seeking to build on an encouraging four-inning outing Sunday at Baltimore, where he allowed two runs and one walk, while striking out six over 59 pitches.

“We were all encouraged when he turned it up in his last outing,’’ Cash said. “We want to see if he can get to (being effective) from pitch one and see how long he can sustain it.’’

Archer said he would love to get through five innings but added, “My goal is to focus on one pitch at a time.’’

Cruz missile

DH Nelson Cruz got a second look at his old teammates. He played against the Twins in Minneapolis on Aug. 13-15.

“It’s always nice to see my former teammates … and now they’re in my house,’’ said Cruz, who had a third-inning RBI double. “You just want to beat those guys. That’s the goal.’’

Cruz had some extended pregame visiting time with his Twins friends, including first baseman Miguel Sano. Cruz was asked to be the godfather of Sano’s daughter, Danea, who was born to Miguel and his wife, Daniela, on Aug. 19. Cruz called that “an honor and a privilege.’’

Miscellany

The Rays have allowed three runs or fewer 71 times to lead the American League. … Leftfielder Austin Meadows has at least one RBI in five straight games (he had a six-game run in 2019). He’s batting .325 (38-for-117) with runners in scoring position, including 9-for-his-last-16 (.563) since Aug. 16. … The fourth represented right-hander Michael Wacha’s 1,000th career inning pitched. … First baseman Ji-Man Choi (left-hamstring strain) is scheduled to play a doubleheader Saturday in the Florida Complex League. Friday’s game was rained out. … Reliever Nick Anderson (out since spring training with right-elbow sprain) threw a perfect 13-pitch inning for Triple-A Durham on Thursday. Cash said reports indicate more life in Anderson’s fastball. “You’re starting to see hitters’ reactions where it’s tough to catch up to (Anderson’s fastball),’’ Cash said. … Matt Wisler (right middle-finger inflammation) threw a bullpen session.

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