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Rays’ Wander Franco feels ‘super good,’ expects to resume rehab soon

The dynamic shortstop took batting practice with the team and said how he comes out of that will determine his timetable.
 
Rays shortstop Wander Franco practices his swing during batting practice before Wednesday's game against the Los Angeles Angels at Tropicana Field.
Rays shortstop Wander Franco practices his swing during batting practice before Wednesday's game against the Los Angeles Angels at Tropicana Field. [ IVY CEBALLO | Times ]
Published Aug. 24, 2022|Updated Aug. 25, 2022

ST. PETERSBURG — Rays shortstop Wander Franco said Wednesday his surgically repaired right hand was feeling better and he expected to resume his rehabilitation assignment soon but didn’t have a specific date.

“I feel super good right now and getting better,” he said via team interpreter Manny Navarro.

Franco took batting practice on the field with the team and fielded ground balls. He said that how he came out of that would determine his timetable for returning to rehab games.

“See how it feels, and then I should be able to go to (Triple-A) Durham after that,” he said.

Manager Kevin Cash had a similar take. “See how he responds to that,’’ Cash said. “I’m not quite ready to put a day on when he’s going to head back out.’’

Franco appeared to get through the on-field session OK but didn’t seem overly enthused. He spent several minutes afterward talking with third-base coach Rodney Linares and several players, pointing to spots on the hand.

Franco broke the hamate bone in his right hand on a swing July 9 and had surgery three days later. He joined the Durham team in Norfolk last week to start his rehab assignment but left his first game Aug. 16 after two plate appearances due to soreness. He was pulled off the rehab assignment and returned to St. Petersburg on Sunday to receive daily treatment and work out.

“I think I might have just gotten there a little earlier than I thought to get to Triple A for the rehab,” he said. Cash said it was his idea to try to accelerate Franco’s return.

Franco hit flipped balls in the cage Tuesday and said that session went well. “It didn’t bother me much at all,’’ he said. “It doesn’t hurt me anymore on the right side. Thank God that I feel a lot better there.”

As for his targeted return to big-league games? “Hopefully soon,” Franco said. “The sooner, the better.”

Rehab report: Wisler, Fleming, Feyereisen

Reliever Matt Wisler (neck strain) allowed two walks and a hit in facing five batters Wednesday in his first rehab outing for Durham. … Lefty Josh Fleming, out since mid-July with an oblique strain, started a rehab assignment Tuesday throwing two innings for the Bulls. “He’s actually really done well for an oblique issue,’’ Cash said. “He seems to be responding and in a good spot.’’… Reliever JP Feyereisen (shoulder bone bruise) is headed to Durham for live batting as a prelude to starting a rehab assignment.

Miscellany

The Rays logged their sixth walkoff win of the season with Wednesday’s 4-3, 11-inning victory over the Angels, and first on an error in the regular season since August 2018 versus Kansas City. … They improved to 9-9 in extra innings. … Rays pitchers allowed three or fewer runs for the seventh straight game, their longest such streak since May 2019. … Mike Trout’s homer off Jason Adam in the eighth ended the bullpen’s scoreless streak at 16⅓ innings. … Reliever Phoenix Sanders, the USF product designated for assignment Monday, was claimed off waivers by the Orioles. … Friday’s game at Boston will be shown only on AppleTV+. Bally Sports Sun reporter Tricia Whitaker, who works the weekly Apple games, won’t work the Rays. She will work Apple’s other game, Guardians at Mariners. .... On Tuesday, Rays catcher Christian Bethancourt became the fifth big-leaguer this season to homer and pitch in the same game, joining teammate Yu Chang, Shohei Ohtani (Angels), Diego Castillo (Pirates) and Luis Gonzalez (Giants).

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