Jeff Francis drawing interest from at least five teams

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Colorado is interested in re-signing Jeff Francis and he’s also drawing interest from Seattle, Milwaukee, Pittsburgh, and Houston, according to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com.

Last month the Rockies declined their $7 million option on Francis for 2011, which was a no-brainer after he returned from shoulder surgery to post a 5.00 ERA in 104 innings.

Francis is still just 29 years old and if you look beyond the ugly ERA he had a solid 67/23 K/BB ratio, which makes the left-hander an intriguing post-surgery flier for teams not interested in getting into bidding wars for free agent starters like Jorge De La Rosa, Jake Westbrook, and Carl Pavano.

The Angels were the first team to use up all of their mound visits

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Last night’s Angels-Astros game was a long affair with a bunch of homers and the use of 11 pitchers in all. The Angels used six pitchers and all of that business led to plenty of conferences. Six, in fact, which is their allotment under the new rule capping mound visits. As far as I can tell, that makes the Angels the first team to use up all of their mound visits since the advent of the rule.

Sadly, they did not try to go for a seventh, thereby testing the currently unknown limits of the rule. Umpires have been instructed to not allow additional mound visits, but they cannot issue balls or tackle anyone or anything to enforce it. Presumably, if Maldonado had walked out to talk to Cam Bedrosian about the weather or where he was going to dinner after the game, the home plate umpire would’ve simply done the old Robin Williams English policeman’s bit of yelling “Stop! . . . or I shall yell ‘Stop!’ again!” Maybe a fine would issue later, but we’ll never know.

At least until someone breaks the limit. And we know someone will, right? We should have a betting pool on who does it.