Five teams — including the Yankees — are interested in Jeff Francis

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Jerry Crasnick reports that the Mets, Nationals, Pirates, Rangers and Yankees have shown interest in Jeff Francis, who most recently pitched for the Rockies.  Some of those other teams have been mentioned before, but this is the first time anyone has reported the Yankees’ interest.

As Drew noted over the weekend, Francis was rusty at times last year, but he improved in the second half and his velocity was up.  He could be a good candidate for sharp improvement in 2011. There aren’t a lot of teams who he couldn’t help in some capacity, even if it’s just as a fourth or fifth starter.

Brayan Peña announces retirement

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Catcher Brayan Peña announced his retirement on Monday evening via his Twitter account:

Peña, 36, signed a minor league contract with the Tigers in January but the club ended up going with catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia for their Triple-A roster.

Peña spent parts of 12 seasons in the majors with the Braves, Royals, Tigers, Reds, and Cardinals from 2005-16. He hit .259/.299/.351 in 1,950 plate appearances.

With his playing days behind him, Peña will transition into coaching. He will manage one of the Tigers’ Gulf Coast League teams, George Sipple of the Free Press reports.