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Wander Franco moves past Mickey Mantle in extending on-base streak

Rays notebook | The 20-year-old gets a walk during an 0-for-4 night to make it 37 straight games reaching base.
The Rays' Wander Franco is congratulated by first base coach Ozzie Timmons after walking and extending his streak of on-base games during the seventh inning against the Red Sox on Tuesday at Fenway Park.
The Rays' Wander Franco is congratulated by first base coach Ozzie Timmons after walking and extending his streak of on-base games during the seventh inning against the Red Sox on Tuesday at Fenway Park. [ WINSLOW TOWNSON | Associated Press ]
Published Sep. 8, 2021|Updated Sep. 8, 2021

BOSTON — Wander Franco has earned an impressive place in baseball history, extending his on-base streak Tuesday to 37 games.

That moved him past Yankees legend Mickey Mantle for the longest such streak among American League players 20 and younger, with only Frank Robinson’s 43-game run for the 1956 Reds ahead of him.

Franco also now has a share of the longest streak for a rookie shortstop of any age, surpassing Hanley Ramirez, who had 36 for the 2006 Marlins, and matching Chico Carrasquel, who had 37 for the 1950 White Sox. (Technically, Franco solely has this mark since Major League Baseball first defined rookie status in 1958.)

Franco got there Tuesday with a walk his fourth time up in an 0-for-4 night, just the sixth time he has been hitless during the streak that started July 25. He also has the longest active streak in the majors.

The 20-year-old continues to earn raves from his teammates.

“Incredible,” said catcher Mike Zunino, 30. “As a 20-year-old kid being able to do that — the pressures that come with it, whether he realizes it or not, I’m sure he does — but it’s incredible to be a part of just his maturity for being that age.

“I’m sitting there in the sophomore year of college, you’re trying to figure yourself out as a person as a player, you don’t know what the future holds. And this guy’s breaking records as a major-league baseball player. It’s awesome to be a part of.”

Medical matters: Arozarena, Mejia, Choi, Wisler

Outfielder Randy Arozarena was slated to fly back to Florida after Tuesday’s game to be with his wife for the birth of their daughter, then rejoin the Rays on Saturday in Detroit. … Catcher Francisco Mejia, who left Monday’s game with a bruised right shoulder after being hit by a foul tip, was “better” Tuesday and “fully available if needed,” manager Kevin Cash said, but they hoped to not use him. … Ji-Man Choi, out since Aug. 23 with a left hamstring strain, went through a full workout before Tuesday’s game with the expectation he would be activated to play Wednesday with the Sox starting right-hander Nathan Eovaldi. But Cash said before Tuesday’s game only that it was a possibility. … Same with reliever Matt Wisler, who has been out since Aug. 16 with right middle finger inflammation.

Hey, you look familiar …

Reliever Louis Head was called up — for the team-high 10th time, and all since late April — to add a fresh arm to the bullpen. Despite the up-and-down nature of his season, Head has thrown well with a 1-0, 2.93 record in 21 games after throwing two scoreless innings Tuesday. Infielder Taylor Walls, who was 2-for-15 in five games since his Sept. 1 recall, was optioned back to Triple-A Durham.


⋅ David Hess pitched the final two innings, becoming the 57th player used by the Rays this season, matching the franchise record set in 2019. He was their 35th pitcher (excluding position players). Their 34 pitchers used are already a team high.

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⋅ The Rays have won seven straight road games and are an AL-best 43-25 away from the Trop.

⋅ The initial inventory of outfielder Brett Phillips’ “Baseball is Fun” T-shirt line sold out within an hour of Monday’s launch of his website, and pre-orders for the next batch are being accepted.

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