8/6/2014 11:42 P.M. ET
Franco unlikely to be called up before September
By Todd Zolecki, Austin Laymance and Teddy Cahill / MLB.com
PHILADELPHIA -- Maikel Franco is swinging a hot bat in Triple-A, but Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said he doesn't expect the third baseman to join the big league club before rosters expand in September.
Franco, the organization's No. 3 prospect according to MLB.com, has 13 hits, including three home runs, and nine RBIs over his last 10 games with Lehigh Valley. Franco, 21, has a .325/.357/.600 slash line over that period.
Sandberg said Wednesday that Franco "is making some strides," but added that management has not discussed a promotion.
"He's putting together some at-bats and some weeks of good contact and some better at-bats," Sandberg said. "Definitely steps in the right direction. If the case would be for him to come here, the best scenario would be with a lot of confidence and with positive results."
For now, the Phillies would prefer Franco to play regularly in Triple-A, as opposed to limited at-bats in the Majors. Cody Asche, 24, is the Phils' primary third baseman and also needs playing time.
"I think it's beneficial right now that [Franco] plays as much as he can play, no question about it," Sandberg said. "Just for the experience and the at-bats and for development. The more he can play the better."
Report: Hamels, Byrd claimed off waivers
PHILADELPHIA -- This is the month when teams put nearly every player on revocable waivers to give them roster and trade flexibility before the Aug. 31 waiver Trade Deadline.
The Phillies are no different. FOXSports.com reported Wednesday that unidentified teams claimed both left-hander Cole Hamels and right fielder Marlon Byrd off waivers, while closer Jonathan Papelbon cleared. It means the Phillies have 48 hours to work out trades with the teams that claimed Hamels and Byrd. If they do not, they are expected to pull back both players back from waivers.
This doesn't mean Hamels is going to be traded. The Phillies have an incredibly steep price for their ace and had no offers before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline. This is a procedural move as much as anything. Plus, Hamels has a limited no-trade clause, so he could block a trade to any team other than the Angels, Braves, Dodgers, Cardinals, Nationals, Padres, Rangers, Red Sox and Yankees.
The Phillies tried to trade Byrd before the July 31 deadline, but felt they received nothing of value in return for him. It remains to be seen if this is a team that truly covets Byrd, or a team that simply wanted to block Byrd from another team.
Papelbon cleared waivers, which means the Phillies have until the rest of the month to trade him to any team in baseball. He cleared because he is owed $13 million next season, plus a potential $13 million more in 2016 with a vesting club option.
Papelbon has a limited no-trade clause, but he said he will happily waive it to close for a contending team.
No surgery confirmed for Lee, but season over
PHILADELPHIA -- It is not a surprise, but Phillies left-hander Cliff Lee's season is finished.
Lee's locker inside the Phillies' clubhouse at Citizens Bank Park had been completely cleared out before Wednesday's game against the Astros. He is on the 15-day disabled list with a Grade 2 flexor pronator strain, and he is going to rest at home in Arkansas for about two weeks before rejoining the team early next month for a reevaluation.
On Wednesday, Lee visited orthopedist David Altchek at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York. Altchek confirmed the Phillies' diagnosis of Lee's injury, which said no surgery is required. Following Altchek's examination, Lee returned to Philadelphia to visit the Rothman Institute in Philadelphia for a platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injection in the elbow.
"We hope to get him into a throwing program in October or November," Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said in a telephone call late Wednesday night. "But right now he needs to rest."
Amaro is hopeful Lee, who sustained a recurrence of the injury last Thursday in Washington, will be ready to go by Spring Training in 2015. Lee is owed at least $37.5 million following this season, which includes his $25 million salary for 2015, plus a $12.5 million buyout on a 2016 club option.
Biddle throws five no-hit innings for Clearwater
Left-hander Jesse Biddle, the Phillies' No. 4 prospect, threw five hitless innings Wednesday to help Class A Advanced Clearwater defeat Daytona, 4-0.
Biddle struck out five and walked one. He retired the final nine batters he faced before left-hander Lino Martinez relieved him to start the sixth. Martinez kept the no-hit bid going for two more innings before Cubs' No. 9 prospect Billy McKinney broke it up with a one-out single in the eighth.
Shortstop J.P. Crawford, ranked No. 35 on MLBPipeline.com's Top 100 Prospects list, went 1-for-3 with a run and a walk in the victory. The Phillies' No. 1 prospect is batting .278/.353/.377 in 43 games since being promoted to Clearwater at the start of the second half.
Biddle was making his second start since June 23, when he gave up 10 runs on eight hits and three walks in three innings. He had been in a month-long slump on the mound and, after the loss, told the Reading Eagle, "I'm miserable out there. I'm very unhappy. And I don't know why."
Shortly after that that game, the Phillies placed Biddle on the temporary inactive list and sent him to their Spring Training facility in Clearwater. General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said the organization was giving Biddle "a mental break."
Biddle didn't appear in a game for a month before returning to the mound July 26 in the Gulf Coast League. He allowed one run on one hit and one walk and struck out three batters.
In 16 starts with Reading, Biddle went 3-9 with a 5.02 ERA. He struck out 79 batters and walked 41 in 80 2/3 innings.
Halladay figurine night highlights Alumni Weekend
PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies had arguably their greatest run in franchise history from 2007-11, and fans will have a chance to relive the good times this weekend at Citizens Bank Park. The team is hosting its annual alumni weekend Friday through Monday. Events include:
Friday Roy Halladay returns Friday for his bobble figurine night, when he will honored before the game and throw out the ceremonial first pitch. Halladay will participate in #DocChat on @Phillies at 11:30 a.m. The Phillies' alumni luncheon honoring Charlie Manuel begins at noon. The event is sold out.
Saturday It is the Phillies' Wall of Fame Night. The highlight is the pregame ceremony inducting Manuel onto the Wall of Fame. Wall of Fame inductees scheduled to attend include: Jim Bunning (1984), Steve Carlton (1989), Mike Schmidt (1990), Larry Bowa (1991), Dick Allen (1994), Greg Luzinski (1998), Garry Maddox (2001), Tony Taylor (2002), Bob Boone (2005), Dallas Green (2006), Juan Samuel (2008), Darren Daulton (2010), John Kruk (2011) and Mike Lieberthal (2012).
Sunday More than 45 alumni will be introduced before Sunday's 1:35 p.m. game with other events planned.
Monday Gates open at 11:35 a.m. with alumni legends around the ballpark before and during the game.
• Jesse Biddle, the Phillies' No. 4 prospect according to MLB.com, was scheduled to start for Class A Advanced Clearwater on Wednesday. The left-hander began the season with Double-A Reading and was placed on the inactive list in June, which Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. described as "a mental break."
Biddle, the Phils' first-round pick in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft, returned to the mound July 26 and pitched two innings in a start with the Gulf Coast League Phillies.
"He's been through a lot and he's worked through a lot of things," Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said. "It's good to see that he's back. I'm anxious to see how he does and adjusts to making the adjustments that he's got to make."
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. Austin Laymance is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jalaymance. Teddy Cahill is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @tedcahill. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.