Reds sign Jeff Francis

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Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com reports that the Reds have signed left-hander Jeff Francis to a minor-league contract with an invitation to spring training.

Francis showed a lot of promise early in his career with the Rockies, but was sidetracked by injuries and has posted a 5.26 ERA in 471 innings since missing all of the 2009 season. Last season he had a 6.27 ERA in 70 innings for Colorado.

He’s actually returning to the Reds organization after spending part of 2012 pitching for their Triple-A team, but Francis never pitched for Cincinnati in the big leagues and at age 33 he’s mostly just minor-league depth at this point.

Sean Manaea has a no-hitter through seven innings

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Athletics southpaw Sean Manaea has no-hit the Red Sox through seven innings of Saturday’s game. Any thought of a perfect game was banished in the first at-bat, when Mookie Betts drew a leadoff six-pitch walk to open the first inning. From there, Manaea held the Sox to just three total baserunners through the first seven innings.

Andrew Benintendi tried to break up the no-no in the sixth inning, collecting an infield hit for what appeared to be the Red Sox’ first hit of the evening. Upon further review, however, the hit was reversed after Benintendi incurred a batter interference call for running outside the baseline.

Manaea is currently working with a three-run lead thanks to RBI doubles from Jed Lowrie and Stephen Piscotty and Marcus Semien‘s solo shot off of Chris Sale in the fifth.

If Manaea sees the no-hitter through to completion — as seems entirely possible, given that his pitch count is resting at 84 entering the eighth — he’ll be the first A’s pitcher to toss a no-no since Dallas Braden’s perfect game against the Rays eight years ago. The last time the Red Sox were on the losing end of a no-hitter, meanwhile, was back in 1993 against the Mariners’ Chris Bosio.