Jeff Francis looks good in first start since 2008

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Jeff Francis rejoined Colorado’s rotation Sunday nearly 15 months after shoulder surgery and started for the first time since September of 2008, holding Washington to one run over seven innings in a no-decision.
Francis allowed six singles and one double, striking out six and walking one while tossing 67 of 106 pitches for strikes in a very encouraging outing that ended in a standing ovation from the Coors Field crowd.
Francis was a big part of the Rockies’ run to the World Series in 2007, going 17-9 with a 4.22 ERA in the regular season and 2-1 in the postseason, but logged 232 innings after previously never topping 200 and went 4-10 with a 5.01 ERA in 2008 before shutting things down. However, in addition to Sunday’s impressive performance he hurled seven shutout innings in his final rehab start at Double-A, so the early results are promising for one of just four pitchers in Rockies history with 50 wins.

Mets sign Matt Purke to minors deal

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The Mets signed left-hander Matt Purke to a minor league deal, the team announced Friday. Purke will also receive an invitation to spring training, where he could presumably beef up the club’s left-handed relief options alongside Jerry Blevins and Josh Smoker.

Purke has not appeared in the majors since 2016, when he was used in a dozen relief appearances by the White Sox. The 27-year-old racked up a 5.50 ERA, 6.0 BB/9 and 7.5 SO/9 in his first 18 innings with the team, and was demoted to Triple-A Charlotte in June to finish out the season. He spent the entire 2017 season in Triple-A as well, showing more promise with a 3.84 ERA, 3.8 BB/9 and 11.0 SO/9 in 48 appearances.

While Purke may not amount to much more than a depth piece in New York’s ‘pen, the veteran lefty figures to be part of the Mets’ new bullpen-first strategy next year. Reports from MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo indicate that the club will be focusing on improving their relief options in order to ease the workload of their starting pitchers, and will likely add a few more arms before the offseason comes to a close.