Osleivis Basabe confident to step in for Rays as Wander Franco is sidelined
22-year-old Osleivis Basabe has been called up by the Tampa Bay Rays to replace shortstop Wander Franco, who is being investigated for an inappropriate relationship with a minor. Basabe is ready for the challenge.
In a surprising turn of events, Osleivis Basabe found himself in an unexpected position. Initially called up for just Sunday's game, Basabe was meant to give Wander Franco a day off and provide the Tampa Bay Rays with a backup shortstop. However, circumstances quickly changed.
Social media posts alleging Franco's involvement in an inappropriate relationship with a minor emerged, leading to his placement on the restricted list. Major League Baseball and authorities in the Dominican Republic launched an investigation into the matter. As a result, Basabe, a talented 22-year-old player excelling in his first season at Triple-A, was thrust into the spotlight as the starting shortstop in Franco's absence.
Remarkably, Basabe remains unfazed by the challenge ahead. Mentally prepared and ready for any task assigned by the manager, he exudes confidence. "I'm prepared mentally pretty well," Basabe stated through team interpreter Manny Navarro. "I'm ready for anything the manager calls on me to do."
The Rays have specific expectations for Basabe. They want him to maintain his aggressive approach at the plate, hitting the ball hard against the higher level of pitching. Additionally, they expect him to make the necessary plays at shortstop, acknowledging that he may not possess Franco's range and that he is still honing his skills at the position due to his experience at second and third base.
Despite Basabe's limited experience, Rays baseball operations president Erik Neander expresses confidence in the young player. "Osleivis is a good player," Neander affirmed. "He doesn't have a whole lot (of experience) underneath him, but we've never been afraid to go with an internal option with little underneath them if they show they can handle it. So we'll give him that shot."
Basabe's lack of overwhelm or notable nervousness in this situation does not come as a surprise. He possesses the necessary composure and determination to rise to the occasion.