Franco's new approach paying off

Slugger has belted three home runs for fast start in Spring Training

Franco's new approach paying off

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Phillies right fielder Michael Saunders is going to have a good look at Maikel Franco this season.

He is expected to hit just behind him in the Phillies' lineup, or perhaps even in front of him, which he did in Monday's 7-2 loss to the Rays in a Grapefruit League game at Spectrum Field. Franco singled to right field in the first inning before he crushed 1-2 pitch to left field for a solo home run in the fourth.

It was Franco's third homer of the spring.

Franco's long homer

"A lot of raw power," Saunders said of his early impressions of Franco. "You can tell during his batting practice so far this spring that he's got an approach of hitting low line drives. It seems like he's staying on fastballs to the big part of the park. But, obviously, he has a lot of raw power and a lot of talent."

Phillies manager Pete Mackanin also likes what he has seen early from Franco.

"He's going deeper into counts," Mackanin said. "He got that little jam shot into right field [on the first pitch], but he let the ball travel instead of going out there after it. That's a good sign for what's to come from him, so I look forward to seeing him continue that approach. I think he's going to be working towards a good year."

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