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Franklin proving hard to slow down
After freak setbacks last season, M's prospect off to hot start
04/07/2012 11:25 PM ET
Nick Franklin was the 27th overall pick in the 2009 Draft.
Nick Franklin was the 27th overall pick in the 2009 Draft. (Kevin Hill/MiLB.com)
For Nick Franklin, it's nicer to get off to a hot start, rather than merely a fresh one.

Last June, his season was interrupted when he suffered a concussion after getting hit in the head by a bat before a game with Double-A Jackson. The freak accident and a subsequent battle with a foodborne illness kept him out of action for two months.

So far this season, he's reduced that ordeal to a blip on the radar.

Showing no signs of any lingering effects, Franklin clubbed his first homer of the season Saturday to power the Generals to a 7-5 victory over the Birmingham Barons. It was part of his third straight two-hit game.

"I definitely say that you can't control the uncontrollable with what happened," said Franklin, the 27th overall pick in the 2009 Draft. "I was still going to continue to go out and play my game. I just wanted to play the game hard and leave all the things that have happened in the past behind."

Franklin, MLB.com's No. 61 prospect, is the marquee offensive prospect on a Jackson team that will be more closely followed for its collection of top-tier pitching prospects. He's 6-for-11 with two RBIs and two runs scored during the Generals' 3-0 start.

"It's nice to get a couple hits, but ultimately it's even better to have that win at the end of the game," Franklin said. "We feel real good, not overly confident, but I think it's a great group of guys we have, top to bottom."

After spending part of his offseason in the Arizona Fall League, where he was named MVP of the Rising Stars Game, the 21-year-old shortstop got a taste of Major League camp with the Mariners. He got seven at-bats in five Cactus League games.

Franklin said he wanted to spend his offseason focused on conditioning and building back strength after his long DL stint last summer. But he also was able to learn a lot from being around big leaguers as far as what to expect as he climbs through the Minor League ranks.

"I wanted to put back on some of the weight that I lost during the season. My main goal was to get healthy and stronger and put that all together to prepare for Spring Training," he explained. "Being around those guys [at Major League camp] I learned a lot, starting with just coming to the field and being a professional. Seeing how they set the tone on how to be a pro."

With unforeseeable injuries and illness behind him, Franklin wants to continue hitting and winning games, so the central focus will be on his play.

"There's really no long-term mind-set I have right now. I think of it as the sky is the limit," the Florida native said. "I just want to push and push and play as hard as I can. Every day I want to give everything for me to be seen, not heard."

Jonathan Raymond is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.
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