Rays bench star Wander Franco for at least 2 games for ‘not being the best teammate’

Rays bench star Wander Franco for at least 2 games for ‘not being the best teammate’

Chris Cwik

The Tampa Bay Rays can seemingly do nothing wrong this season, but even the best team in baseball deals with adversity at some point. The Rays benched star shortstop Wander Franco for at least two games due, in part, to Franco “not being the best teammate,” manager Kevin Cash said Thursday.

Franco, 22, will not start Thursday or Friday night against the Kansas City Royals due to multiple issues, per Cash. Franco reportedly hasn’t handled his “frustrations” well, and the organization believes he can be a better teammate.

Cash made sure to call Franco a “really good kid,” and said Franco was still dealing with “the challenges of being a major league player.”

Franco, the former No. 1 overall prospect in baseball, has shown flashes of brilliance in the past, but is living up to his potential this season. After being called up in 2021, Franco hit .288/.347/.463 over 308 plate appearances, earning himself a third-place finish in the Rookie of the Year voting. He was off to a similar start last season before injuries limited his playing time.

Franco turned in a healthy spring and hit the ground running once the 2023 regular season began. Through 72 games, he has a .287/.349/.455 slash line. He already has a career-high eight home runs and 24 steals.

Wander Franco won't play for at least two games due to

Wander Franco won’t play for at least two games due to “not being the best teammate.” (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)

That production has helped the Rays jump out to a major-league best 52-25 record entering Thursday. The Rays have scored the second-most runs in baseball and have allowed 282 runs, the lowest figure in the majors.

Franco, who is considered a strong defender, has played a major role in the Rays’ excellence on both sides of the ball. The Rays are at their best when Franco is on the field, so the team will have to hope this two-game reset has the intended result.

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