Franco had three plate appearances Tuesday morning with the Florida Complex League’s orange team, going 0-for-1 with a walk and sacrifice fly, and he’s in tonight’s lineup against the Nationals.
“On the road trip he had been taking batting practice with us, doing a running progression, taking ground balls every day,” said manager Brandon Hyde. “Went down to Sarasota for a couple days, played in a game, got some extra at-bats the next day. He checked all the boxes and he feels great. So he got some at-bats down there and just by watching him move around, he looked like he was ready.”
Hyde didn’t have any updates on pitcher Keegan Akin and outfielder Anthony Santander, who are on the COVID-19 injured list. He confirmed only that they didn’t stay in St. Petersburg, Fla., and he’s hoping for their return by the middle of next week.
“With the protocols that we’re following from MLB, I can’t really talk about it,” he said, “but we’re hoping by mid next week.”
Hyde also said no one else on the major league club is impacted.
Bruce Zimmermann, on the injured list with left biceps tendinitis, threw a bullpen session in St. Petersburg, Fla.
“We’re hoping he’s going to get in some game action soon,” Hyde said. “I would expect Zimm, if everything goes well, mid-August.”
Coby Mayo, last year’s fourth-round draft pick, played third base today for the FCL black team and homered twice, singled, drove in five runs, scored three, walked and stole two bases.
The top two draft picks this summer, Sam Houston State outfielder Colton Cowser and East Carolina University infielder Connor Norby, took batting practice today at Camden Yards after meeting the local media in the dugout.
“I’m looking forward to meeting them,” Hyde said, noting that the players aren’t allowed inside the clubhouse. “Exciting day for them, excited for us to watch them in person take batting practice. It’s a day they’ll never forget, taking BP in a big league stadium with the big league club, and I hope they enjoy the day.”
Cowser and Norby will play in the FCL and eventually move up to low Single-A Delmarva.
The Orioles have gone 1-9 in their last 10 home games,
The Nationals have won six of their last eight games at Camden Yards since the start of the 2018 season.
Juan Soto is 12-for-23 (.522) with two doubles, five home runs, 12 RBIs, six walks, one stolen base and eight runs scored in six games since the break. The five homers lead the majors and the 12 RBIs are tied for first with the Dodgers’ Will Smith.
For the Orioles
Cedric Mullins CF
Austin Hays RF
Trey Mancini DH
Ryan Mountcastle 1B
Ramón Urías SS
Pedro Severino C
Maikel Franco 3B
Ryan McKenna LF
Pat Valaika 2B
Jorge López RHP