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.
Monday night has, unfortunately, been a night of injuries. Joaquin Benoit and Corey Kluber suffered injuries earlier in the evening and now it appears that Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos has suffered an apparent right knee injury.
In the top of the sixth inning, Yasmany Tomas hit a double to right field that scored Paul Goldschmidt. Brandon Drury was on his way to home plate as right fielder Brian Goodwin got the relay throw into first baseman Ryan Zimmerman. Zimmerman threw home but it sailed high. Ramos leaped to grab the ball and came down awkwardly, as MASN’s Dan Kolko describes. Ramos clutched and pointed at his right knee. He was unable to put any weight on it as he was helped off the field. Per Kolko, Ramos struggled to get down the dugout steps.
Pedro Severino came in as a defensive replacement for Ramos. The Nationals should have more on his condition after the game. It’s worth noting that Ramos tore the ACL and MCL in the same knee back in 2012.
With the Nationals headed to the playoffs, this is a bad time to lose Ramos if the injury is indeed serious. He came into Monday night batting .307/.354/.497 with 22 home runs and 80 RBI in 520 plate appearances. He went 1-for-3 with a single before exiting Monday’s game.
Indians ace Corey Kluber lasted only four innings in Monday night’s start against the Tigers, exiting with tightness in his right groin, Paul Hoynes of Cleveland.com reports. Kluber had allowed two runs on five hits and a walk with three strikeouts. Both runs scored in the bottom of the second inning on a J.D. Martinez two-run home run.
More should be known on Kluber’s status after the game.
With a week left in the regular season, the Indians are hobbling to the finish line. Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar were injured earlier this month, forcing the club to get creative with its starting rotation.
The Indians are leading the Tigers 5-3 as of this writing. If they win, they will clinch the AL Central for their first division title since 2007.