Top prospect Franklin gets first Triple-A hit
Nick Franklin’s first Triple-A experience with the Tacoma Rainiers didn’t start off nearly the way he would have liked it.
The Seattle Mariners’ projected shortstop of the future trudged slowly back to the dugout after his fourth at-bat of the night resulted in his third strikeout.
“The big thing was I was just swinging too hard and thinking a little too much,” Franklin said. “The strikeouts are going to happen, but I just said ‘forget it’ and I made my next AB what it was worth.”
Franklin showed why he is so coveted within the Mariners’ organization with his final at-bat of the night – a two-run double off the right-field wall that missed being a home run by just inches. He was sent home on a throwing error that landed in the seats as his first Triple-A hit capped a five-run eighth inning in the Rainiers’ 9-1 victory against the Reno Aces on Thursday at Cheney Stadium.
“That was a tough start,” Rainiers manager Daren Brown said of Franklin’s first four plate appearances. “But it was good to see him come up and drive the ball the last inning.
“We get him going a little bit at this level and he will be fine.”
Franklin struck out swinging after chasing a high-and-away fastball in his first at-bat but learned from it in his second and stayed away from three similar pitches to draw a walk, his first time on base for Tacoma.
But the 27th overall pick in the 2009 draft, Franklin struck out in each of his next two appearances.
“I just wasn’t seeing the ball,” Franklin said. “I was thinking maybe it was something with jet lag, but I wasn’t going to make excuses. I had been hitting fine. So I just tried to put the bat on the ball.”
Franklin started at second base after playing mostly at shortstop for Double-A Jackson. He made 10 starts at second this season.
Instead, the Rainiers’ 22-year-old incumbent shortstop, Carlos Triunfel, started at short and responded to Franklin’s call-up with a two-run home run in the bottom of the fourth to score Adam Moore and put Tacoma ahead 4-0.
Blake Beavan threw seven solid innings in his first start at Cheney Stadium since being demoted by Seattle on June 13. He allowed one run, a Mike Jacobs homer, and got out of a no-out, bases-loaded, jam in the seventh to win – the Rainiers’ first after 16 consecutive losses to Reno.
The Rainiers face Reno in the fourth and final game of the series today at 7:05 p.m. Brian Sweeney (2-1, 4.53 ERA) takes the mound for Tacoma against Reno’s Charles Brewer (3-4, 5.50). Top pitching prospect Danny Hultzen makes his Rainiers debut Saturday at Colorado Springs.