Tampa Bay Rays star Wander Franco ruled out for at least five weeks

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The Tampa Bay Rays’ quest for a wild-card spot in the American League took a hit Monday with the news that star shortstop Wander Franco will undergo surgery for a fractured hamate bone in his right hand that is expected to sideline him for five to eight weeks.

The 21-year-old Franco sustained the injury during the first inning of Saturday’s game against the Cincinnati Reds after fouling off a pitch. He was placed on the 10-day injured list Sunday and will have the surgery on Tuesday.

Franco made his major league debut in June 2021 and hit .288 with seven home runs and 39 RBIs in 70 regular-season games with the Rays. He then went seven-for-19 (.368) with a pair of homers and four RBIs in four games as Tampa Bay lost to the Boston Red Sox in the American League Division Series.

He finished third in the American League Rookie of the Year voting, and the Rays signed him to an 11-year, $182million contract extension in late November.

Franco, though, has been hampered by injuries in 2022, as he also spent nearly a month on the injured list with a strained right quadriceps before returning to the lineup on June 26.

He has been limited to 58 games and is batting .260 with five home runs and 23 RBIs for the Rays, who entered Monday occupying the second wild-card spot in the American League.

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