PHILADELPHIA — New Phillies manager Gabe Kapler watched Maikel Franco take batting practice in Franco’s native Dominican Republic in November.
Kapler liked what he saw.
“I saw an incredible effort level, and it wasn’t the type of level you might think,” Kapler said after a news conference at Citizens Bank Park in early December. “It wasn’t grunting. It was easy, relaxed. It was a calm effort that obviously made the ball jump off the bat.”
The question now is whether Kapler and the rest of the Phillies brass like what they see of Franco this summer.
Few Phillies need a fresh start more than the enigmatic third baseman. Franco became a Philadelphia regular in 2015. He batted .280 with 14 home runs and a .343 on-base percentage that season.