Yankees Appoint Tony Franklin As New “Rehab” Coach

The Yankees announced that they have appointed their former minor league manager, Tony Franklin, as their new Rehab Coach. Not to be underestimated, he could very well prove to be a significant cog in the team’s march to a playoff spot in 2017.

The Yankees, like all major league teams, know that it would be a miracle if they went through the 2017 season injury free. Players will go down. And when they do, the Yankees have a team of doctors, whose job it is to bring them back to the team as quickly and safely as possible. But in many cases, the real work comes after the doctors have worked their wonders and the player is ready for “rehab.”

With the hiring of Tony Franklin, the Yankees have blazed a new trail in the process by making him the coordinator of a player’s rehab, and final return to the team. Veterans, who have been through the routine before, might be trusted to work on their own. But with the composition of the team getting younger, injuries to players like Tyler Austin, Gleyber Torres, and Clint Frazier have not played a significant role in their careers to date.  But, in all likelihood, at some point, injuries will occur.

And when they do, stationed in Tampa, Tony Franklin will be there to guide them through the process. This development on the part of the organization cannot be underestimated. Because young players will need his guidance and mentor as a way to them ease through the process, not only physically, but mentally as well.

Imagine, for instance, how Greg Bird felt mentally when his season last year ended before it even began. Or, how Aaron Judge felt when he went down in the midst of a slump without the chance to redeem himself by getting more at-bats before the season came to a close. Greg Bird’s injury will heal, but it is the Yogi Berra “90% of baseball is physical, the other half is mental” quote that applies.

For the first time in 10 seasons, Tony Franklin, who will turn 66 June 9, will not be managing a Yankees farm team in 2017. Franklin and Greg Bird explain: (Pinstriped Prospects):

“I’ll be working with these players on the baseball part of it,” he said. “After the doctors and trainers give them the go-ahead, I’ll be working with them on drills, getting their timing back. I’m really looking forward to it.”

Having the always upbeat Franklin in this position can only help. Attitude is a big part of rehab for injured players, as Yankees first baseman Greg Bird explained.

“Tampa is a great place to be when it is in Spring Training. You want to be there then,” said Bird, who is the front-runner to play first base for the Yankees this season. “But when you are hurt, and you are down there during the season, it’s the last place you want to be.

“You have to be there and follow your program. The people working with you do seem to grasp what we go through when we’re trying to get back on the field.”

Having one individual, in Franklin, who everything will be funneled through is bound to be a significant step forward in strengthening the Yankees communication lines. He can be, for instance, the conduit between the player, doctor(s), trainers, Joe Girardi, and Brian Cashman all wrapped up into one tidy little box.

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Needless to say, the Yankees, and possibly Franklin himself, hope that he’ll mainly be spending his days on the beach in Tampa. But when and if the need arises, the Yankees have someone in place. This is just another example of an organization that has it’s act together (entirely), and this is just another reason why it’s so exciting to be a Yankees fan at this moment.

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