Jeff Francis asked for and got his release from a minor-league contract with the Reds and the 30-year-old left-hander has quickly returned to where his career started, signing with the Rockies.
And now only that, Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post reports that Francis will immediately jump into the Rockies’ rotation and start Saturday versus the Angels at Coors Field.
Francis was the Rockies’ first-round pick in 2002 and his relatively modest career numbers rank among the franchise’s best by a pitcher, but he hasn’t been healthy and effective in the same season since 2007. That year he went 17-9 with a 4.22 ERA in 34 starts for the Rockies, but in the five years since then he’s started a total of 74 games with a 14-32 record and 4.93 ERA.
Francis was solid but unspectacular for the Reds at Triple-A, posting a 3.72 ERA and 65/18 K/BB ratio in 77 innings. He also served up six homers and allowed opponents to hit .286, so while Francis may be one of the few pitchers who don’t mind working at Coors Field the reunion might not go so smoothly.
The Reds announced earlier that they plan to extend the protective netting at Great American Ball Park in time for Opening Day next season. You can add the Padres and Mariners to what will surely be a growing list.
A young fan was struck in the face by a foul ball at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday, which gave new life to the netting debate. Some fans and media types think Major League Baseball is not doing enough to protect fans. While Major League Baseball has issued guidelines for protective netting, it is ultimately up to the teams to decide just how much netting to use.
Orioles closer Zach Britton is likely done for the remainder of the 2017 season after receiving a stem cell injection in his left knee, Peter Schmuck and Jon Meoli of the Baltimore Sun report. Britton has been battling knee problems for most of the season.
The Orioles are still technically in the AL Wild Card race, entering play Thursday 5.5 games behind the Twins for the second Wild Card slot. With only nine games remaining, however, the 73-80 Orioles are likely being realistic about their chances and not taking any unnecessary risks with Britton.
Britton, 29, put up a 2.89 ERA with 15 saves and a 29/18 K/BB ratio in 37 1/3 innings this season. He will be eligible for arbitration for the fourth and final time this offseason.