Jeff Francoeur's PR team rests for no one

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All winter and spring, media outlets covering the Braves could be counted on to run 2-3 “this looks like the year Jeff Francoeur puts it all together articles” a week These articles continued even as the season wore on and it because obvious that Francoeur was not putting it all together. Really, it wasn’t until almost the very end of his tenure with the Braves that anyone started writing about just how awful a year the guy was putting together, and even then it was understated.

The good press continues for Jeffy in New York:

His latest performance, two hits in the Mets’ 5-1 victory Sunday,
put his batting average with the Mets at .300 in 100 at-bats. Francoeur
has played in 26 games since being acquired from the Braves for Ryan
Church and has gone hitless in merely seven of them–and never in more
than two straight. He drove in 19 runs in his first 20 games after the
trade. And he has provided the aggressive and strong-armed defense that
Mets had anticipated.

What the article doesn’t mention is that this one-month performance — which is substantially above anything he has accomplished in the past three seasons — still falls short of what one could expect from the average right fielder given his continued lack of plate discipline and meager power.  His last month is nothing more than a modest blip on what is a continued unspectacular radar.

And the kicker: because it’s being portrayed as something special — because Francoeur represents mediocrity in a season of horrors — it’s probably going to cause the Mets to offer this guy a long term deal.

Whatever Francoeur is playing his publicist, he should triple it.

Mets leaning on Jay Bruce, Neil Walker as Lucas Duda insurance

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - MAY 12:  Pinch hitter Lucas Duda #21 of the New York Mets walks back to the dugout after striking out for the first out of the ninth inning against Clayton Kershaw #22 of the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on May 12, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.  The Dodgers won 5-0.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
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The Mets have begun working outfielder Jay Bruce and second baseman Neil Walker at first base as potential insurance in the event Lucas Duda continues to experience back discomfort, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports. Duda has been sidelined recently due to back spasms and missed all but 47 games last season as a result of a stress fracture in his lower back.

Manager Terry Collins spoke about Bruce’s work at first base on Sunday, saying, “I liked everything I saw today. “It looks like he’s got the athleticism, he’s got the hands, he’s got the arm angle. He made some throws in our drills that you wouldn’t expect an outfielder to be able to make, but yet he does. If that’s where we have to go, I think we’ll be fine.”

Bruce has only three games’ worth of experience at first base at the major league level, but still has high expectations for himself. He said, “I am going to work at it. I want to give myself a chance and the team a chance. I am not going to go over there and be a butcher. It’s just not the way I go about my business on the baseball field and it wouldn’t be fair to the team if I wasn’t capable to do it, so I am going to work at it and we’ll see what happens.”

The Mets made Bruce available via trade over the offseason but didn’t get an offer that whet their appetite. As a result, Michael Conforto appears to be the odd man out in the Mets’ crowded outfield.

Jason Kipnis diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 02:  Jason Kipnis #22 of the Cleveland Indians celebrates after scoring a run on a wild pitch thrown by Jon Lester #34 of the Chicago Cubs (not pictured) during the fifth inning in Game Seven of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field on November 2, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis has been diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff in his right shoulder, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reports. Kipnis has received a cortisone shot and will be shut down from throwing for the next four to five days.

There’s a lot of spring left, so it’s perfectly sensible for the Indians to play it safe with their star player. The club already had Kipnis on a shoulder strengthening program.

Kipnis, 29, helped the Indians to the playoffs after batting .275/.343/.469 with 23 home runs, 92 RBI, 91 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases in 688 plate appearances during the regular season last year. He then helped the Indians reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Cubs, where they were eventually stopped, as he provided a .741 OPS including four homers and eight RBI in 15 playoff games.