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Rays’ Wander Franco returns from quad strain, providing Tampa Bay with needed offensive boost

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The Tampa Bay Rays have reinstated shortstop Wander Franco from the injured list, the club announced Sunday. Franco, 21, has been out since May 30 due to a right quad strain. 

The Rays actually said at the time that quad and hamstring injuries had been hampering Franco for weeks. And though he did go 3 for 4 in his last game before hitting the IL, Franco hit .150/.212/.217 in his last 17 games after a .331/.355/.525 start, so maybe there’s something to that. 

On a five-game minor-league rehab assignment over the course of the last week, Franco was 6 for 16 (.375) with two doubles and a triple, so he seems ready to dive right back into the mix. 

The Rays could sure use the help. They have been in a bit of a funk. They won both Friday and Saturday in comeback, walk-off fashion against the Pirates, but before that they had lost 11 of their last 17 games. They enter Sunday 12 1/2 games behind the Yankees in the AL East and are actually now in fourth place, as the surging Red Sox sit in second and the Blue Jays are in third. 

The East holds down all three of the AL wild card spots at this moment, but the Guardians are only a game behind the Rays. 

Among the 15 American League teams, the Rays enter Sunday ranked 12th in runs, 12th in average, 12th in on-base percentage, 12th in slugging and 13th in OPS. They’ve had a rash of injuries, including Brandon Lowe and Manuel Margot

Franco is the most talented player the Rays have, so he’s the guy they need to get them back on track. 

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