St. PETERSBURG – Wander Jeter?
Short-stop Wonder Franco for the second year looked a lot like Hall of Famer Derek Jeter on Friday in stopping with a backhand throw for a powerful jump throw to number one, as the longtime Yankees star made famous.
It was not by chance.
“I’ve seen this role played by Derek Jeter a few times,” Franco said Saturday via team interpreter Mane Navarro. “He’s always been that kind of player since the first day I followed him. I’m glad I was able to play that kind of play.”
Franco said it’s not a play he’s really playing.
“It’s just instincts,” he said. “I just trust the talent. I try to anticipate what the play will be like, and then I rely on my talent.”
Manager Kevin Cash and catcher Mike Zunino, who played against Jeter, were suitably impressed by Franco’s play.
“He has no fear of going for that throw and he has the arm to do it,” Zunino said. “It’s an easier play for some guys to do than trying to stop and turn and get off the back foot….You’re working on certain things, and that’s just up to your convenience. Some guys might want to plant and let it rip, and some guys are better off feeling By getting up in the air and getting rid of things.”
It takes a special athlete, Cash said.
“Oh my gosh, you have to have body control and arm strength, and fortunately for us, he’s got it. (Taylor Walls) has that,” Cash said. … A sports wonderer second to none. He can do some special things.
“In that play, I don’t think that while you’re shooting, you’re planning what you’re going to do. It’s just instinctive. That’s what I felt comfortable. And that’s how he presented the play.”
Cash said he is among the shooters eligible to return when health savior JT Chargois (the slashing tights) advances and will have an extended spring bout Tuesday, as is Chris Mazza (back cramps).
Among those on a longer schedule, Shane Baz (arthroscopic elbow surgery) threw two rounds on Saturday in a spring long game that “goed very well,” Cash said. Luis Patino (The Oblique Dynasty) threw the pile for the first time, albeit not a full distance away.
Reliever Pete Fairbanks (right-length breed) got a good report from his latest MRI and was allowed to start playing on Saturday, but he’ll need six to eight weeks to build up before hitting hitters, a move before starting a minor league rehab. Loyalty Nick Anderson (elbow surgery) throws pulp sessions, aiming for late May/early June to take on the hitters.
Brendan McKay (Surgery for Thoracic Outlet Syndrome) is still “on hold” due to shoulder issues and is seeking additional medical opinions.
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Yande Diaz, who missed Friday’s game due to a non-COVID illness, was in Saturday’s lineup at third base. Brandon Lowe was what the team said was a healthy scratch off the lineup roughly two and a half hours before the premiere. He was replaced by Taylor Walls. … Lefty Jeffrey Springs, after his first real great start on Monday, is either starting or working behind an opener at the end of Sunday’s series. … right-hander Josh Roberson, 26, in Double A, was acquired from Miami to complete the trade for loyalist Louis Head. … premiering Sunday at 1:40 p.m. The new start time is a byproduct of an exclusive window into an MLB TV deal with Peacock.
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