ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Tampa Bay Rays utility man Nick Franklin entered Friday night’s game as a defensive replacement in the third inning but departed after playing two innings, two days after being hit in the head by a teammate’s bat while on deck.
Franklin was not in the starting lineup against Texas Rangers left-hander Cole Hamels but he went into the game when center fielder Kevin Kiermaier left after the second inning. The team said Kiermaier was bothered by left hip tightness.
“Everything is good,” Franklin said before the game. “Everything came out fine. I’m set to play whenever.”
Franklin took over in left field for Mikie Mahtook, who shifted to center. However, Corey Dickerson replaced Franklin in the top of the fifth.
There was no immediate word regarding Franklin’s departure.
Kiermaier smacked the back of Franklin’s head with a bat when Franklin bent to grab some pine tar in the on-deck circle before leading off the first inning Wednesday against San Diego. Kiermaier was stretching a few feet in front of Franklin, swinging the bat over his head with one arm. Franklin was wearing a helmet.
“That was a little scary there,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “I heard it. I didn’t see it.”
Franklin drew a walk and scored in the first inning Wednesday before leaving with a head bruise. He passed concussion tests Wednesday and Friday.
Tampa Bay had a day off Thursday.