Mackanin benched Franco for the second consecutive game Wednesday night against the Rockies at Citizens Bank Park. Franco entered the game hitting .221 with six doubles, six home runs, 28 RBIs and a .657 OPS in 171 plate appearances. His .643 OPS as a third baseman ranks 23rd of 24 qualified third basemen in baseball.
"I'd like to see if he comes to me, rather than me going to him," Mackanin said.
Mackanin had the same hope last season, when he benched Odubel Herrera three of four games in San Francisco and San Diego. But Herrera never talked with Mackanin because he had no idea he had been benched for struggling. Herrera thought he did not play because Mackanin wanted to rest him. Franco, however, knows why he is being benched, but he has no plans to march into Mackanin's office.
"They understand and I understand, you know?" Franco said. "I'm not the guy to go into the manager's office and say, 'Why am I not in the lineup? I want to play.' He knows what he's doing and I know what I'm capable of doing. Every single day when I come in, I'm 100 percent mentally ready to be in the lineup and I'm ready to play. If I'm not in the lineup I have to get relaxed and just try to do everything I can to make an adjustment, and when I'm in the lineup, I'll do my job."
So why not just call Franco into his office?
"It's different," Mackanin said.
But Mackanin said he recently sought out Michael Saunders and Cameron Rupp. Saunders has dropped to eighth in the lineup. Rupp did not start for the second consecutive game Wednesday, making it the first time this season Andrew Knapp has started back-to-back games.
"I bring in a lot of guys," Mackanin said. "I talk to guys one-on-one. I had Freddy Galvis in here for another reason. Not everybody sees that. But my meetings are short and to the point when I have one because I don't believe in prolonged meetings. I'd rather see guys one-on-one and tell them what I like that they are doing, or what they should be doing, or what they are doing and I don't like, or just try to motivate them, but keep them positive."
Mackanin said Rupp's benching is different than Franco's. He said he just wants to see a little more of Knapp.
"He's made a good impression," Mackanin said. "Not that he's going to play more than Rupp. I still think about that three-run homer [Rupp] hit to give us that cushion in Pittsburgh [on Friday]. So he's still, right now, one of my favorites."
Mackanin said there is no specific plan with Franco, meaning he has not decided if Franco will sit a third consecutive game Thursday.
"If tomorrow I come in and I'm not in the lineup, I'm just going to go out there and do my job and do everything I can do to get better and help my team," Franco said. "It happens. I remember in Triple-A I got three days where I didn't play to try to relax. And after that I did a good job."