Jeff Francis fever is sweeping the hot stove. Or whatever.
According to Jim Armstrong of the Denver Post, the left-hander is expected to decide between offers from the Rockies, Mets, Brewers, Pirates and Nationals within the next couple of days.
Francis missed the entire 2009 season after undergoing major shoulder surgery just before spring training and posted an unremarkable 5.00 ERA and 1.36 WHIP over 20 appearances (19 starts) in 2010.
But most of Francis’ struggles this year can be attributed to rust and the southpaw’s ongoing recovery from that February 2009 shoulder procedure. He looked far better in the second half of the season and he actually managed a four-year high on the average velocity of his fastball, clocking in at 87.2 MPH.
On a one-year deal with some incentives thrown in, he should make a fine innings-eater in 2011.
Cubs infielder/outfielder Ben Zobrist has been placed on the 10-day disabled list with back soreness. The move is retroactive to April 14. While it doesn’t appear to be the precursor to any serious injury, Zobrist has already missed six straight days of activity after feeling his back tighten up last weekend. Should he see the minimum time on the DL, as expected, he’ll be eligible to return by the start of the Cubs’ series against the Indians on Tuesday.
Prior to his injury, the 36-year-old outfielder raked an impressive .326/.408/.465 with three extra-base hits in 49 plate appearances. He last appeared for the Cubs during their homestand last weekend and helped propel the team to a 14-10 win over the Braves with three hits, two walks and two RBI. Provided that he can remain healthy going forward, it’s a promising start for the veteran outfielder, who has yet to return to the All-Star-worthy numbers he posted with the club in 2016.
With Zobrist sidelined for the time being, Ian Happ and Albert Almora Jr. have shared the leadoff spot and center field duties over the last week. Happ went 0-for-8 with six strikeouts in two games before passing the baton to Almora, who collected five hits and two RBI in 11 at-bats.