The Tampa Bay Rays are holding firm in the American League's top Wild Card spot at the moment but could use an offensive boost. Look no further than Wander Franco. The 21-year-old phenom is poised to be activated from the injured list and make his long-awaited return to the team as early as Friday night.
Wander Franco Injury Update
Franco last played on July 9 before undergoing hamate bone surgery on his right wrist. He had started a rehab assignment with the Triple-A Durham Bulls in mid-August, but that was put on hold for a while due to hand soreness and lingering symptoms that made swinging a bat difficult.
The star shortstop returned to the Bulls' lineup on Wednesday night, though, where he went 3-for-5 at the plate with a double and two runs scored. That was apparently all Tampa Bay's front office needed to see. With a critical weekend series against the New York Yankees on tap, Franco's return comes at a crucial time.
The Rays will obviously need to score some runs in order to keep up with a daunting Yankees lineup on the road. Franco was slashing .260/.308/.397 with 34 runs scored, 12 doubles, five home runs and 23 RBIs across 58 games before going down. He had also stolen five bases in five attempts.
Franco joins a growing list of players returning to the majors down the stretch for Tampa Bay. Manuel Margot, Brandon Lowe, Harold Ramirez and Yonny Chirinos are all back and ready to go, too. After closing their AL East deficit to five games, the second-place Rays currently have +1000 odds to win the division according to FanDuel Sportsbook's MLB odds.
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