Rays begin short term without Wander Franco in encore with Tigers

National Sports

The Tampa Bay Rays will have to carry on without star rookie Wander Franco for a little while.

Franco experienced right hamstring tightness in the first inning of the team’s 10-4 loss at Detroit on Friday. The teams will play the second game of the three-game series on Saturday.

Franco extended his on-base streak to 39 games with a single. He felt discomfort in his leg after going from first to third on a Nelson Cruz double.

Manager Kevin Cash said Franco will likely be out for at least 10 days.

“He’s extremely frustrated because he knows what he means to this team, and he wants to be out there,” Cash said. “I don’t see a situation where he avoids the IL.”

The 20-year-old Franco owns the second-longest on-base streak in major league history by a player under 21. Frank Robinson holds the record at 43 games, which was established in 1956. But Franco won’t get a chance to extend his streak until his hamstring heals.

Chris Archer will start for the Rays on Saturday. It will be his fourth start since Aug. 22, when he returned from a forearm injury that knocked him from a game in mid-April.

Archer’s last appearance was a start in St. Petersburg against the Twins. The right-hander allowed four runs on four hits and four walks in five innings, the longest of his appearances this season. He struck out three and gave up two home runs.

Archer, who is in his second stint with the Rays, is 2-3 with a 3.76 ERA in starts against the Tigers. Pitching at Comerica Park, he is 2-2 with a 4.63 ERA in four starts.

His mound opponent, rookie right-hander Casey Mize, won’t be in the game long enough to qualify for a victory. The Tigers have put Mize under a strict innings limit for his remaining starts, rather than shutting him down.

Mize (7-7, 3.51 ERA) tossed three spotless innings at Cincinnati on Sunday, requiring just 34 pitches — 27 for strikes — to set down all nine batters he faced.

Mize hates the limitations but understands why the organization has imposed them.

“They’ve been very transparent,” he said. “They’ve planned this out with the goal of getting me to the finish line. We are at the point where we have to do this to make that happen. I’d just be wasting everybody’s time if I was sitting there fighting (to stay in). It’s not easy for any of us to do, but it’s the plan. It’s what we have to do.”

The Tigers had similar restrictions on the No. 1 overall pick of the 2018 June draft during most of his July starts.

“We have a plan in place, and I’m going to stick with it,” manager AJ Hinch said. “We all know it’s there even if we aren’t talking about it all the time. … But Casey has to be one of the most efficient short-start guys in history. Every time we do this with him, he seems to get through his three innings in under 30 pitches or just over.”

–Field Level Media

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