Maikel Franco started at third base and batted third Monday night for triple-A Lehigh Valley, his team for one more week. The minor-league season ends Sept. 1. That is the day major-league rosters can be expanded, although there is no decision on Franco's next destination.
Franco, who turns 22 on Tuesday, had hits in 10 of his 16 weekend at-bats. He hit for the cycle Saturday and smacked his 15th homer of the season Monday night. But there may not be enough playing time in meaningless September games for Franco.
Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said he does not want to "bring him up here just to sit around." Manager Ryne Sandberg said there was a preliminary discussion about September promotions without a Franco decision.
"The biggest thing for him is playing time," Amaro said, "and making sure this is the right thing, the right atmosphere, and the right time. . . . We'd like to assess some other things. There are a lot of different factors. We still have time to make a decision on it."
A team official said Franco's recent hot streak could force a September call-up. Franco, one of the youngest players in the International League, had a decent-but-not-great .716 OPS entering Monday. Sandberg noted Franco's 31 doubles as an indicator of his improved production.
"He has as chance with this hot streak to really end on a good note from . . . the hole that he was in for probably two-and-a-half months of the season," Sandberg said. "Really shows how far that he's come in a month and a half."
Franco can play first base, too. So either Cody Asche or Ryan Howard would have to lose at-bats for Franco. The Phillies are not keen on that idea.
The Phillies had interest but did not bid near Boston's $72 million for Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo. Amaro would not confirm whether the team was a finalist for Castillo's services or what type of bid he made.
"I can't get into that," Amaro said.
He described the Red Sox as "very aggressive." The Phillies held a private workout with Castillo. Amaro expects to pursue other international free agents in the coming months. One possible target is 23-year-old Cuban slugger Yasmani Tomas.
"We are scouting pretty aggressively all of them - the Cubans, the Japanese, Korean players," Amaro said.
Adams tries again
No one can fault Mike Adams for his effort. The 36-year-old righthander has not pitched since early June because of persistent shoulder problems, but he will start a rehab assignment Tuesday at triple A. He could return in September.
Adams, who has made just 47 appearances since signing a $12 million contract, adopted a realist's approach Monday.
"It's probably the most important thing for my career, to finish this season healthy," Adams said. "As far as what happens next year, at least I finish healthy and on a positive note. . . . I said I didn't want to steal money, and that's exactly what happened."
Adams, who said he has 20 percent of his right rotator cuff remaining, will undergo stem-cell treatment for his shoulder in the winter.
"I'm at the point where I'm going to break," he said. "I'm going to keep going until I break. Hopefully it doesn't end up that way, and I can get to the point where I walk away on my own terms, but I'm going to keep doing this as long as my body lets me.
"If this is my last season, then so be it."
The Phillies will face a lefty, Gio Gonzalez, on Tuesday but righties in the four games after that. . . . Bench coach Larry Bowa put Freddy Galvis and Andres Blanco through pregame workouts at first base. The team wants those players to be available there in case of an emergency.