ST. PETERSBURG — Wander Franco is back. And the Rays should be better for it.
The dynamic rookie shortstop was activated off the injured list and is expected to be in the lineup tonight as the Rays open a weekend series against the Marlins at Tropicana Field.
Franco strained his right hamstring in Detroit on Sept. 10, but made a quick recovery . He further tested his leg the last two days with Triple-A Durham, in a three-inning live batting practice workout on Wednesday after the Bulls game was rained out, then by playing seven innings on Thursday.
Franco said he is excited now as for his debut, feels fine and will have no limitations.
Infielder Taylor Walls was optioned to Durham to make room. The Rays definitely have missed Franco, who was hitting .285 with seven homers, 36 RBIs and an .810 OPS in 62 games, and had reached base in 39 consecutive games, four shy of Frank Robinson’s record for players 20 and younger.
Veteran reliever David Robertson will be the opener for the Rays, getting his first big-league start, with lefty Ryan Yarbrough expected to work bulk innings. Righty Edward Cabrera is slated to start for the Marlins.
The Tampa Bay chapter of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America will presents its annual three awards before tonight’s game, the Paul C. Smith Champion Award, the Outstanding Rookie award and the Don Zimmer MVP award.
Also, reliever Ryan Thompson’s season is officially over, he will soon undergo thoracic outlet syndrome surgery. He is expected to be ready for spring training.
Here is the Rays lineup:
And for the Marlins:
Lineups when available.
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