Reds sign lefty Jeff Francis to minor league contract

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From Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com comes word that the Reds have reached agreement on a minor league contract with free agent lefty Jeff Francis.

The deal carries an invitation to major league spring training, where Francis will presumably get a shot at landing a spot in Cincinnati’s starting rotation.

Francis, 31, posted a troubling 4.82 ERA and 91/39 K/BB ratio in 183 innings last season for the Royals. But all minor league deals are low-risk, and the Reds can simply try someone else if he doesn’t pan out as the innings-eater they were hoping for.

Danny Farquhar taken to hospital after fainting in dugout

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White Sox reliever Danny Farquhar passed out in the dugout after completing his outing against the Astros on Friday evening. The cause of the incident has yet to be determined, but Farquhar was supervised by the club’s medical personnel and EMTs and regained consciousness before being taken to Rush University Medical Center for further treatment and testing. A diagnosis has not been announced by the team.

Farquhar pitched 2/3 of an inning in relief during Friday’s 10-0 loss to Houston. He was brought in to relieve James Shields in the top of the sixth inning and was immediately bested by George Springer, who belted a ground-rule double down the right field line and scored Brian McCann and Derek Fisher for the Astros’ sixth and seventh runs of the night. He recovered to strike out Jose Altuve, but was again punished with a two-run homer from Carlos Correa (his first of two), and induced a fly out to end the inning.

The 31-year-old righty pitched just 7 1/3 innings with the club prior to Friday’s performance, issuing four hits, three runs, two homers and eight strikeouts in seven appearances.