Saunders exits; Phils may call on prospect

Saunders exits; Phils may call on prospect

ARLINGTON -- Phillies right fielder Michael Saunders left Thursday afternoon's 8-4 loss to the Rangers at Globe Life Park with tightness in his left groin.

It is unclear if the injury will affect Saunders' availability for this weekend's series in Pittsburgh.

"They told me they don't think it's serious," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said of the club's training staff. "His groin area was pulling on him. He was concerned, but it's not like he pulled it."

Saunders appeared to injure himself while running hard to first base on a groundout in the fifth inning. He was replaced in left field by Ty Kelly for the bottom of the sixth.

Saunders hustles for a triple

Saunders, who tripled and scored in the second inning, is hitting .250 with six doubles, two triples, four home runs and 15 RBIs in 37 games.

If the groin issue lingers longer than expected and Saunders can't play for an extended period of time, the Phillies have options at Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

Franco, Herrera struggles

On Thursday, Mackanin hit the struggling Maikel Franco seventh, a spot the third baseman had not batted in since Sept. 28, 2014. Franco went 1-for-3 with a solo home run and two RBIs. Meanwhile, Odubel Herrera went 0-for-4. He is hitting .242 with a .298 on-base percentage.

"It doesn't really matter where I'm hitting," said Franco, who is batting .216 with a .282 OBP. "I just try to do my best. Sometimes it's tough, sometimes it's hard. But I just go out there with the same mentality [of] what I can do to help my team."

And what's up with Herrera?

"He has to be a little bit more disciplined," Mackanin said. "I don't think he's seeing the ball well for some reason. He might be over-swinging. That's probably part of it."

Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.