Franco looking for strong finish to season

Franco looking for strong finish to season

PHILADELPHIA -- Maikel Franco hopes to take the good from Saturday night and carry it into the rest of the season's final month.

He went 4-for-5 with three doubles and one RBI in a 6-4 loss in 10 innings to the Braves at Citizens Bank Park. He doubled in the first, singled and scored in the third, doubled to score a run in the fifth and doubled in the eighth. But Franco also dropped a ball in foul territory in the eighth that eventually led to the Braves scoring the game-tying run.

"I've been up and down too much," Franco said about his sophomore season. "I understand the situation. I have to just keep learning and get better. I'm trying to do everything I can possible."

Franco's diving stop

Franco is hitting .250 with 21 doubles, one triple, 22 home runs, 73 RBIs and a .732 OPS in 534 plate appearances. He hit .280 with 22 doubles, one triple, 14 home runs, 50 RBIs and an .840 OPS in 335 plate appearances last season, so Franco has not taken the step forward many in the organization had hoped.

But Phillies general manager Matt Klentak reminded people last month that Franco is just 23.

"We have to remember he's 23 years old," Klentak said. "It's not just to quote an age. By itself that doesn't mean anything. But there are players making their Major League debuts this year that are top industry prospects that are already 24, and he's got parts of three seasons under his belt already. It's reasonable to expect players at that age at this level are going to continue to make adjustments and get better."

That is what the Phillies hope for Franco because they are counting on him to be a big part of their future.

Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone, follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.