CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Phillies players will be digging into their wallets on Sunday.
Every player will be coughing up …
Last year, manager Pete Mackanin instituted a system in which he levied team-wide fines of one dollar whenever a player made a mental mistake.
Maikel Franco made one in the third inning of Saturday's game against the Pirates when he lost a soft pop-up off the bat of John Jaso in the sun. The misplay contributed to the Pirates scoring five runs in the inning on their way to a 13-6 victory over the Phils.
Now, a missed pop-up might not sound like a mental mistake, but in this case, it was. Franco had sunglasses -- but they were perched on top of his cap. If they were on his eyes, he certainly would have had a much better chance to make the catch.
Mackanin played Franco the entire game while the other regulars were allowed an early exit. Keeping Franco in the game was not punitive.
"I wasn't punishing him," Mackanin said. "I don’t like the way he's swinging the bat right now. He's in that mid-spring lull and I want to get him as many at-bats as I can right now, that's the reason he stayed in the game. And he's not going on the trip" to Port Charlotte on Sunday.
"But that's going to be a fine for him -- for the whole team."
Mackanin fines the whole team as a way to build accountability among the players.
Franco did not immediately put on his sunglasses after the missed pop-up, but he had them on in the fourth inning and wore them the rest of the game.
Afterward, the 24-year-old third baseman received some good-natured ribbing from teammate Andres Blanco. As reporters approached Franco, Blanco played the role of inquisitor.
"What happened with the fly ball? Why did you drop it? You had your glasses up here." Blanco said.
Blanco's little bit of role-playing could have been his way of sending a gentle message. The soon-to-be 33-year-old utility man is a mentor to many of the team's young Latin players.
"He's tough," Franco said with a laugh.
As for the fine …
"I know it's going to happen," Franco said.
Mackanin's decision to keep Franco in the entire game did reap some offensive dividends. Franco smacked a grand slam in the seventh inning, his fourth homer of the spring.