Rays take on Red Sox with Wander Franco hitting cleanup

The Rays head south to play the Red Sox today, with consensus top prospect Wander Franco in the lineup for the game that will be nationally televised by ESPN with a 1:05 first pitch.

Franco will be the DH today, and is slated to get a start at shortstop on Wednesday, when the Rays host the Pirates in a game to be shown on Fox Sports Sun.

Franco, who turned 20 Monday, started a game for the Rays last spring when he was an early reporting minor-leaguer. This year he is an invitee to big-league camp, and Cash said they will try to give him, as well as the others, as much opportunity as they can while getting the big-leaguers ready.

Other notes from pre-game interviews:

* Veteran Michael Wacha, an early off-season free agent acquisition, will make his first Rays start today, with David Hess, Ryan Thompson, Ryan Sherriff, Kenny Rosenberg, Louis Head and Yacksel Rios also slated to pitch.

* With teams required to play nine innings for national TV games, and pitching limited as they don’t want to push them early, Cash said he texted with Sox manager Alex Cora about cutting some innings short regardless of how many outs if an individual pitcher throws more than 20, which is allowed under the spring rules.

* Cash said Joey Wendle, who was hit by a pitch on the helmet and received facial bruising on Monday, was doing…

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Marc Topkin

Marc Topkin

Tampa Bay Times

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Marc Topkin has covered the Rays for the Tampa Bay Times (formerly St. Petersburg Times) and http://t.co/8QlAF2xl since, well, forever.