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Frandsen makes return to Citizens Bank Park

Frandsen makes return to Citizens Bank Park

PHILADELPHIA -- Kevin Frandsen made two things clear Friday afternoon at Citizens Bank Park:

He enjoyed his time in Philadelphia, but he did not like how it ended.

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"Blindsided," he said before the Phillies and Nationals opened a three-game series. "I was like the ball boy on the sideline that got run over by someone."

Frandsen led baseball with 14 pinch-hits last season and hit .353 with a .920 OPS against left-handers the past two seasons. The Phillies rewarded him in December with a one-year, $900,000 contract, but outrighted him in late March. They said at the time they needed roster flexibility with Freddy Galvis sidelined with MRSA. They felt they needed a backup shortstop for Jimmy Rollins, and the front office did not believe Frandsen could play the position.

The Phillies said they hoped Frandsen would accept his Minor League assignment and remain with the organization. Instead, he opted for free agency and signed the same contract with the Nationals. He entered the series hitting .289 with two doubles, two RBIs and a .714 OPS in 43 plate appearances.

"I was [ticked]," Frandsen said. "I was [ticked]. I knew where I stood with Ryno [Ryne Sandberg] and Bo [Larry Bowa] and all those guys and Hendu [Steve Henderson]. But I was [ticked]. If they thought I was roster flexibility, that's what they thought. But I didn't think that of myself. I earned my way to being on the bench, to being a vital part over there. That's what I thought and that's the feeling I have and I'm going to go with it.

"I'm excited to be a National. I was excited and lucky to be a Phillie. That's first and foremost. I got an opportunity to make it back up to the big leagues and play really well for them. But some things you really can't control and I really didn't control it, obviously. It happened and I'm in a great spot."

Frandsen said he got calls from several teams once he opted for free agency. It didn't take long to sign with the Nationals, who liked him in the past.

"It was a leap of faith knowing my abilities and hoping that people would see it, especially what I've done against left-handers in the last couple years," he said. "It's something they had talked about over here, how they needed stuff against left-handers and I always would just laugh and just be like, 'I didn't prove anything else against left-handers the last two years for you guys?' Again, that was another thing that bothered me. But it is what it is. Like I said, you could sense I'm [ticked] about it, but at the same time, I'm grateful for the opportunity at both places. I'll always think fondly about what's over there on the other side."

Frandsen played 52 games at third base in 2012, which is noteworthy as Phillies third basemen entered this series with a .483 OPS, which is the worst mark in baseball. Frandsen is aware of those struggles, but said, "Cody [Asche] is one of my really good buddies over there. I understand the struggle for him. Cody is awesome. He wants to be good, he is good, he prepares to be good. It's just a matter of time."

Asked if he had this series circled on the schedule as soon as he signed with the Nationals, Frandsen laughed and said no.

He did. He doesn't have a great poker face.

"You guys know me," he said. "I don't have that poker face."

Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. Austin Laymance is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jalaymance. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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