9:52 p.m.: Franco told reporters (including Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times) that he hopes to return to the big league club in around two weeks, but conceded the specific schedule was quite fluid.
1:05 p.m.: The Rays announced Tuesday that the shortstop Take a walk Franco was placed on the 10-day disabled list due to a strained quadriceps. His place on the active list will go to the right-hander Shawn Armstrong, whose contract was selected over Triple-A Durham. Tampa Bay designated left-hander Ben Bowden for assignment to open up a spot on the 40-man roster for Armstrong.
Franco was taken out of yesterday’s game after his third hit of the day after feeling what the manager Kevin Cash described as a “tug” in the same muscle quad that kept him out of a few games just over a week ago. He will now be sidelined for at least the next 10 days following a recurrence of the issue.
The Rays have no shortage of options to replace Franco, with Taylor Walls, Vidal Brujan and isaac paredes all on the big league roster right now. That’s not to say Franco’s absence won’t sting, of course, even if it’s short-lived in nature. Baseball’s consensus No. 1 prospect heading into the 2021 season, Franco compiled a .281/.331/.447 slash in his first 498 plate appearances (121 wRC+) while getting solid defensive ratings at shortstop.
Bowden, 27, was a waiver request from the Rockies organization a month ago. He has yet to make the Majors this season, but has pitched 10 innings for Tampa Bay’s Triple-A affiliate at Durham, allowing a pair of runs on nine hits and seven walks with 10 strikeouts in road course. Those seven Durham free passes represented a walk rate of 15.9 per cent – a continuation of the longstanding command problem that has plagued Bowden throughout his minor league career.
The Rockies selected Bowden with the 45th overall pick in 2016. He’s looked like an intriguing prospect at times, but has also struggled with inconsistency over the years since that lofty draft pick. Bowden had excellent Double-A numbers in 2019 and was outstanding in Triple-A last year – 11 2/3 scoreless innings, 17 to 4 K/BB ratio – but his big league debut last season didn’t didn’t go so well. In 35 2/3 frames for the Rockies, Bowden was tagged for a 6.56 ERA with a 23.7 percent strikeout rate and an inflated 11.9 percent walk rate.
The Rays will have a week to trade Bowden, get him through outright waivers or release him. He’s already been claimed once this season, and with any southpaw who can miss bats, there’s always a chance that another club has an interest either in a small swap or via a waiver request.