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Maikel Franco to reappear with Phillies as if by magic

Good news for anyone voluntarily watching the Philadelphia Phillies this weekend as they insist on playing out the stretch.

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The Phillies have been huddled in their sealed-off corner of the baseball universe after having a front row seat to the sport's sexiest debacle and the frantic, vigorous shit-kicking it has inspired. But you don't need to be a part of the soft, perspective-less PC crowd or the tough, perspective-less ex-jock huddle to celebrate the news out of Philadelphia: Maikel Franco is coming back.

It may seem like it doesn't matter that a formerly injured young player is rejoining his last place, long-eliminated team for the last three games of a lost season. It may really, really seem like that. Shut up, please.

Not you, Pete Mackanin, as you describe that white hot Franco-porn the Phillies have been sending you from the remote location at which the rookie has been repairing himself.

"They've been sending us videos of his at-bats and he looks fine," manager Pete Mackanin said. "He's swinging the bat with authority. He looks fine."

As any former players with a platform or bloggers who want to feel tough will tell you, swinging the bat with authority is one of baseball's most grievous offenses. If Franco uses too much authority with his swing, and successfully logs a hit with it, then he would have the authority to order the pitcher around for an entire calendar year. It's the best unwritten rule in the sport, and no one talks about it: Maikel Franco could make some veteran pitcher be his butler.

That's the razor's edge he'll be playing on when returns this weekend to a Phillies lineup that has been filled out by stray cats and bits of string over the last few days. Pete Mackanin brought the card out to the umpires the other day and just emptied his junk drawer onto the field.

Franco, if you'll recall, was a Rookie of the Year candidate for a while this season, mostly by people who read this web site, mostly on this web site. But also, a little bit elsewhere. It wasn't a truly absurd concept. He was hitting .277 with an .830 OPS when a fractured left wrist was inflicted upon him by some jealous god.

Now, though, as the Phillies enter their final weekend of the season, with a furious hurricane baring down on them and baseball fans all over reevaluating their neck-throttling policies, they'll do so with the 23-year-old third baseman of the future hanging around.