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Franco one of several top prospects picked for player pools

Franco one of several top prospects picked for player pools
A Return to Baseball - AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill

Top prospect Wander Franco is part of the Tampa Bay Rays’ 60-man player pool, and the Detroit Tigers are including their most heralded young pitchers as baseball gears up for its abbreviated season.

Sunday was the deadline for teams to submit player pools, although additions can be made later. Many teams announced pools well below the 60-player limit.

Franco, a 19-year-old shortstop, is ranked as the No. 1 prospect in baseball by MLB Pipeline. He spent last season at Class A, so it would be quite a jump for him to contribute in the majors in the immediate future, but putting him in the player pool makes him an option for the Rays — and could help his development in a year when the coronavirus shut down the minor leagues.

Pitcher Brendan McKay and infielder Vidal Brujan, two other top Tampa Bay prospects, also made the pool.

“They are some of our more advanced prospects,” Rays general manager Erik Neander said. “Certainly on the position player side that’s where things went and why Wander was a leading candidate for a spot.”

The Tigers are rebuilding around pitching prospects — including Casey Mize, the No. 1 pick in the 2018 draft. He’s in their player pool, along with Matt Manning, Tarik Skubal, Alex Faedo and Franklin Perez.

The defending champion Washington Nationals included a whopping 36 pitchers in their pool, while the Baltimore Orioles announced only 44 players total at this time — not counting outfielder Trey Mancini, who was listed on the 60-day injured list and is likely to miss the season following colon cancer surgery in March.

The Nationals included infielder Ryan Zimmerman in their pool, although he said recently he was still deciding whether he would play.

The New York Yankees listed Miguel Andújar and Tyler Wade as infielders/outfielders, a sign they could see more outfield time if Aaron Judge (broken rib), Giancarlo Stanton (strained right calf) and Aaron Hicks (Tommy John surgery) aren’t sufficiently healed. New York put right-hander Luis Severino (Tommy John surgery) on the 45-day IL, agreed to minor league contracts with infielder Matt Duffy and catcher Max McDowell and released right-hander Dan Otero, then re-signed him to a minor league contract.

The Pittsburgh Pirates’ player pool was without reliever Edgar Santana, who will miss all of the 2020 season after being suspended 80 games for violating Major League Baseball’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. MLB announced Sunday that Santana tested positive for a performance-enhancing substance.

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More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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