Notes: Franklin designated
Struggling right-hander hopes to return to starting role
PHILADELPHIA -- It's a bittersweet day for Ryan Franklin, whom the Phillies designated for assignment before the first game of Sunday's doubleheader.Franklin had been a starter for his last three seasons in Seattle, and had came to Philadelphia with the understanding that he'd be doing the same. But it was not to be. Franklin was 1-5 with a 4.58 ERA in 46 relief appearances, never once taking the mound for a start. "When I first signed here in January, they signed me to be a starter, and I did nothing in Spring Training to show them that I couldn't start," Franklin said. "When the season started they put me in the bullpen. I thought it was the wrong move on their part." The Phillies personnel didn't see it that way. "We talked about [starting Franklin] internally, and I know he's probably talked about it himself," Phillies assistant general manager Ruben Amaro, Jr., said. "But we decided that we'd keep him in the role of being in the bullpen. We thought that at some point, he'd be able to adjust. At times he threw well, other times not as well." The Phillies were forced to make a move with Randy Wolf being activated from the disabled list after missing over a year following Tommy John surgery on his left elbow. Now Franklin hopes he'll have a chance to start over somewhere else and start some games as well. "I have mixed emotions about this," Franklin said. "I came in here wanting to start, and I didn't get to start. They did what they had to do. Hopefully this is going to be an opportunity." There were several points during the season when injuries to Phillies starters led to a need for emergency aid. Franklin was trumped by Eude Brito, Scott Mathieson and Adam Bernero, however. "The whole time, I was seeing them bring up these young guys and guys that hadn't proven themselves to be able to go out there every fifth day and give the team a chance to win," Franklin said. "It kept piling on and piling on, and sooner or later, it really gets to you." The day after Bernero started in Toronto, Aaron Fultz started a game that was pitched entirely by the bullpen. "I asked him in Toronto about starting a game," manager Charlie Manuel said. "He said he didn't want to start for one game. He said if I get a chance to start more games, that would be fine." Now the Phillies have 10 days to move his contract and give him a chance to start more games somewhere else. Among the teams who have expressed interest are Pittsburgh, Texas and Arizona. Manuel returning? Those expecting manager Charlie Manuel to be dismissed at season's end might want to read what general manager Pat Gillick said. "Charlie is under contract for '07, and at this point I see him fulfilling that," Gillick said. Philling in: Mike Lieberthal's grand slam in the fourth inning of Sunday's opener was the fourth of his career and first since Sept. 16, 2003, also against the Marlins... Ryan Howard walked in each of his first four at-bats Sunday... Danny Sandoval recorded his first career RBI Sunday when he reached on an error that would have scored a run regardless of Dan Uggla's misplay. Up next: The Phillies and Marlins play their fourth game in 42 hours when they take the field Monday in the finale of a five-game series. Jon Lieber (4-7, 5.52 ERA) takes the mound for the Phillies against Josh Johnson (8-5) of the Marlins, who leads the National League with a 2.60 ERA.
Zachary Levine is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.