Rays SS Wander Franco set to resume rehab assignment Sunday

ST. PETERBURG, Fla. (AP) — Tampa Bay Rays shortstop Wander Franco is set to resume his minor league rehab assignment with Triple-A Durham on Sunday.

Franco, who went on the injured list July 10 with a right hamate bone injury that required surgery, played part of one game in mid-August for Durham but departed early due to hand soreness.

The 21-year-old Franco will likely spent all of next week playing with Durham. He took on-field batting practice off a pitching machine Friday and Saturday.

“This is definitely the best that I’ve felt since the injury and hope to continue well after this,” Franco said through a translator before the Rays played the New York Yankees on Saturday night, “Yesterday I took a lot of swings, so we wanted to see how I feel today.”

Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash said Franco feeling the way he does is “probably the most important thing.”

Franco also missed 23 games earlier this year with a strained right quadriceps. He has a .260 average along with five homers and 23 RBIs over 58 games in 2022.

Franco signed an $182 million, 11-year contract in November that includes a club option for 2033. The deal could be worth up to $223 million with incentives if the club option is exercised.

Franco hit .288 with 18 doubles, five triples, seven homers and 39 RBIs in 70 games last year. He finished third in the American League Rookie of the Year voting.

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