Amy Fadool

'It's all part of it,' but what's next for Maikel Franco's future with Phillies?

'It's all part of it,' but what's next for Maikel Franco's future with Phillies?

While the Phillies were in Phoenix on Wednesday night, Maikel Franco was in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Prior to his game with Triple A affiliate Lehigh Valley, Franco was wearing a shirt with a saying across the front:

"It's all part of it."

Franco is ready to embrace the next part of his baseball career, which has been a demotion from the Phillies to the minor leagues. The big club optioned Franco to the IronPigs last Sunday in a sudden and somewhat surprising move given the 26-year-old had been the Phillies' starting third baseman for the past four opening days.

"For me, I just want to say I feel great," Franco said Wednesday at Coca-Cola Park, via NBC Sports Philadelphia's Amy Fadool. "I know it's a tough moment for me, but at the end of the day, I'm just trying to come in and try to do everything I can do to feel myself, try to just get better every single day."

Following a torrid start in which he put up six homers, 17 RBIs and 11 walks over his first 16 games, Franco cooled off considerably. Since May 7, he hit .217 with a .273 on-base percentage, eight homers and 22 RBIs in 68 games. With the play of Adam Haseley, the addition of Corey Dickerson and the eventual return of Jay Bruce, the Phillies' outfield has become crowded. 

So now the team is ready to make Scott Kingery its everyday third baseman.

"With Maikey, he doesn't play multiple positions. He plays one position and he hasn’t really hit left-handed pitching well," manager Gabe Kapler said Sunday (see story). "So we have a left-handed power bat and on-base threat in Brad Miller and we definitely want to have that profile available on our bench, especially when we have a guy like Corey Dickerson and potentially he and Jay Bruce together in the lineup.

“This felt like an appropriate time to make a very difficult move for our clubhouse because we all care deeply about Maikel Franco. He's an exceptional teammate and person and we all love him."

Franco is taking the decision in stride.

"I'm not going to say I feel happy," he said. "I understand the situation, I understand what happened."

If Franco is not viewed as the team's everyday third baseman or a valuable bench piece, does he wonder about his long-term future with the Phillies?

"It's not my decision," Franco said. "At the end of the day, it's not something that I can control. I just try to turn the page.

"For me, I know what I'm capable of doing, I know my talent, I know I have potential. 

"You're going to have some struggles, it's going to happen for everybody, it's going to happen for every good player. You're going to have those moments. When those moments come, you have stay positive and forget everything."

Franco's focus will turn to his performance at Lehigh Valley and being ready for when rosters expand in September. Where will the Phillies stand in the playoff race and how will they need Franco? Time will tell.

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An appointment with the Shot Doctor, Herb Magee, to talk Ben Simmons' shot

An appointment with the Shot Doctor, Herb Magee, to talk Ben Simmons' shot

It’s been the summer of the Sixers, with max contracts, classic uniforms and a successful draft. 

Oh, and Ben got a new jump shot. 

Certainly not lost in the busy offseason are the many social media posts of Ben Simmons’ new-and-improved jumper, something fans have been clamoring for since the All-Star was drafted No. 1 overall in 2016. The man got that money this summer — and now it seems like he got the J too. 

You know what else fans have been clamoring for? Herb Magee to work with Simmons.  So, is the jump shot new and improved? Who better to examine it than the Shot Doctor (name patent pending)? 

Magee, the Hall of Fame basketball coach at Jefferson (formerly Philadelphia University) has been asked on nearly a daily basis for three years running, to look at Simmons’ shot and work with him to improve it. 

Tweets, Facebook posts, in-person requests — Magee has seen and heard it all. So, I wanted him to see the new shot. Naturally, I made an appointment with the Shot Doctor at his annual shooting camp. 

Magee diagnosed the shortfall of Simmons’ shot and saw the improvement in the form, specifically the holding of the shooting hand, in the Instagram videos.

“He is making them, and the ball seems to have the proper arc, it’s properly spinning, and it looks like he’s attempting to finish his shot,” Magee assessed. “Once that happens and he starts to get confidence, then he’ll start making them, without question.”

Prognosis: Improving. And Sixers fans will want to see nightly check-ups. 

For more of Magee’s breakdown of Simmons’ shot, check out the video above.

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More on the Sixers

Sixers Talk podcast: Ben Simmons' jump shot; Mike Scott's upcoming footrace

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NBC Sports Philly

Sixers Talk podcast: Ben Simmons' jump shot; Mike Scott's upcoming footrace

Danny Pommells and Amy Fadool talk about Furkan Korkmaz's return to the Sixers this season.

Then they sit down with Mike Morak about the 14th annual Danny Rumph Classic and the popularity of NBA players participating in summer leagues.

Also, they talk with Justin DiVirgilio about his upcoming footrace with Mike Scott.

And, is Wawa's latest partnership with the Ravens out of bounds? Danny and Amy discuss that and more on the latest Sixers Talk podcast.