The Blue Jays acquired right-hander Frank Francisco this winter from the Rangers with the hope that he might be able to bring stability to the back end of the club’s bullpen, but he had arm troubles all spring and was placed on the disabled list before Opening Day.
This week, they’ll finally get their man.
From MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm comes word that the Jays plan to activate Francisco on Tuesday if everything goes well in his final minor league rehab appearance today at Single-A Dunedin.
Jon Rauch has been handling Toronto’s save opportunities in the early going and has been mostly effective, sporting a 2.70 ERA, 1.20 WHIP and three saves in three chances. But the Jays feel Francisco can be even better, and they’ll move Rauch back to his more familiar setup role when the time comes.
Francisco, 31, turned in a 3.76 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, and fanned 60 batters in 52.2 innings last year for Texas.
Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw entered Wednesday night’s start against the Marlins without having issued a walk in his previous three starts. In fact, his last walk came on April 3 when he issued a free pass to Paul Goldschmidt with the bases empty and two outs in the bottom of the first inning. All told, Kershaw was on a streak of 26 walk-less innings before he took the mound at home to take on the Marlins.
Kershaw started off Wednesday in character, striking out the side in the first inning. He issued a walk in a tough second inning, but escaped without allowing a run. Kershaw walked two more in the third and again danced out of danger. In the fourth, Kershaw walked Lewis Brinson to load the bases with no outs and — you guessed it — didn’t end up allowing a run. His errant control finally came back to bite him in the fifth when Kershaw issued back-to-back two-out walks, then served up a three-run home run to Miguel Rojas down the left field line. His night was done when he completed the inning. Five innings, three runs, five hits, six walks, seven strikeouts, 112 pitches.
The six walks Kershaw issued over five innings marked his first six-walk outing since April 7, 2010 when he issued six free passes to the Pirates in 4 2/3 innings. The only other time he walked as many was on August 3, 2009 against the Brewers in a four-plus inning outing. Kershaw hasn’t even walked five batters in an outing recently — the last time was September 23, 2012 against the Reds.