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.

Anthony Alford to miss 4-6 weeks following wrist surgery

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Blue Jays’ outfielder Anthony Alford will miss at least 4-6 weeks after undergoing surgery on his left wrist, the team announced on Saturday. Alford was placed on the 10-day disabled list earlier in the week after sustaining a left hamate fracture on a foul pitch, and could miss significant time in what looks to be a lengthy rehab process. MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm reports that the procedure has been scheduled for next week and will be performed by Dr. Donald Sheridan in Arizona.

Alford, 22, was called up to the majors from Double-A New Hampshire last Friday. He went hitless in his first three outings, finally catching a break against the Brewers on Tuesday when he pinch-hit a leadoff double in the seventh. The injury occurred two innings later when Alford fouled off a pitch in the ninth inning, fracturing his wrist in the process.

Alford will join eight other players on the Blue Jays’ disabled list, including outfielders Steve Pearce (calf strain), Dalton Pompey (concussion) and Darrell Cecillani (partial shoulder dislocation). He’s expected to be replaced by 24-year-old outfield prospect Dwight Smith Jr.

Stephen Strasburg hit a new career high today

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Good luck getting a hit against the Nationals this weekend. Stephen Strasburg followed Max Scherzer‘s 13-strikeout performance on Friday with a dazzling outing of his own on Saturday afternoon. The right-hander whiffed a career-best 15 batters in seven innings, allowing just three hits and a walk in the Nats’ 3-0 win.

It took Strasburg several innings to get into a groove after pitching into (and out of) a jam in the first inning. The Padres loaded the bases with Allen Cordoba‘s leadoff single, a throwing error by Ryan Zimmerman and a four-pitch walk to Cory Spangenberg. By the third, Strasburg was cruising, striking out the side on 18 pitches and keeping the Padres off the basepaths until the sixth. He recorded his 15th and final strikeout in the seventh inning, catching Padres’ prospect Franchy Cordero swinging on a 1-2 pitch to effectively end his outing.

While 15 strikeouts set a new career record for the Nationals’ ace, he came close to reaching the mark twice before. The first time, he struck out 14 of 24 batters during his major league debut against the 2010 Pirates, though the 5-2 win did little more than keep the Nationals neck-and-neck with the Marlins at the bottom of the NL East. Five years later, he tied his 14-strikeout record against the 2015 Phillies, tossing a one-hitter in eight innings to cement his ninth victory of the season.

The only one who doesn’t seem overly enthused by the new record? Strasburg himself, who told MLB.com’s Jamal Collier and AJ Cassavell: “It’s pretty cool, but there’s another game five, six days from now. I’ll enjoy it tonight, but back to work tomorrow.”