Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco suspended by Dominican team

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PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 17: Maikel Franco #7 of the Philadelphia Phillies reacts after hitting a single against the Oakland Athletics during the fourth inning of a game at Citizens Bank Park on September 17, 2017 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 17: Maikel Franco #7 of the Philadelphia Phillies reacts after hitting a single against the Oakland Athletics during the fourth inning of a game at Citizens Bank Park on September 17, 2017 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) /
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Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco was suspended by his Dominican Winter League team for going out drinking into the early morning before a playoff game.

It may be the offseason for the Phillies, but several of their players are participating in various winter leagues. One of those players is Maikel Franco, who has spent this winter with Los Gigantes del Cibao in the Dominican Winter League.

However, Franco was in some hot water this weekend. Los Gigantes are in the league’s playoffs and had a game scheduled Sunday afternoon at 4 p.m. local time before being rained out. Despite that, Franco and several teammates were spotted in a bar at 6 a.m. Sunday morning.

The other players pictured with Franco were Garabez Rosa, Moises Sierra, and Eduardo de Oleo. They are all minor-leaguers without much status.

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Franco and the other three were all suspended by the team and removed from the roster for their actions. Team owner Samir Rizek told Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes that he had to send a message by suspending the players:

"“I think we had to send a message of respect and discipline, as teams we owe it to the fans, the sponsors and the other players who do things well, I prefer to lose with dignity to try to win sacrificing discipline and good example” said Rizek."

In the Dominican Republic, this league is as important as the MLB regular season here in America. Franco is one of the biggest names in the league and is playing for his hometown team.

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This news came during the middle of a playoff skid where Los Gigantes have lost six of their eight round robin games. Even though they came in first place in the regular season with a 29-21, their poor playoff showing led them to fire their manager Pedro Lopez, who won Manager of the Year for the team’s performance in the regular season.

Franco and his teammate’s actions reflected poorly on the team, especially during this string of losses in the playoffs. They recognized this, apologizing publicly to the media as well as their teammates. They also met with Rizek before facing the media.

Rizek reinstated the players after their round of apologies on Sunday. Since the game was rained out, the players won’t miss any games.

Next: Does Dylan Cozens have a major-league future?

Franco has gone 4-for-20 in the playoffs with a double and three runs batted in.

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