Jeff Francis re-signs with Rockies, expected to start this weekend at Coors Field

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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.

Roberto Osuna to be the Astros new closer

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When the Astros acquired suspended reliever Roberto Osuna it was viewed as a low-price move to bolster their bullpen. Now, it turns out, it was a move to get a closer. Manager A.J. Hinch said as much today, anyway, telling MLB Network Radio that Osuna is going to get most of Houston’s save chances going forward.

This comes the morning after a late innings loss to the Mariners. The closer who Osuna is going to take over for — Hector Rondon — didn’t even pitch in that game, with the damage coming on a three-run Robinson Cano homer off of Collin McHugh. Rondon has blown saves in two of his last three appearances, however, coughing up runs against the Mariners at home on August 12 and against the A’s this past Friday.

Osuna has made five appearances since joining the Astros, allowing one run, striking out three and walking one in five innings of work. Before that he saved nine games for the Blue Jays prior to his domestic violence suspension.