The Astros had no real use for Ben Francisco after acquiring him from the Blue Jays in last month’s 10-player deal, so they moved him right along Friday, sending him to Tampa Bay for a player to be named.
Francisco played in 31 games in his six weeks with the Astros and hit .247/.289/.365 in 85 at-bats. That’s more action that he saw in 3 1/2 months with the Jays earlier this season, as he hit .240/.296/.380 in 50 at-bats for Toronto.
Francisco will likely go back to seeing less playing time in Tampa Bay. He doesn’t have much of a platoon split, so he’s only so useful as a starter against lefties. Still, as a fifth outfielder who can play pretty good defense in the corners, he’s worth the roster spot.
The Braves and Marlins have some bad blood, especially concerning Ronald Acuña Jr. Around this time last year, José Ureña intentionally threw at Acuña in the first at-bat of a game, leading to a benches-clearing incident. Acuña was hit on the elbow and exited the game but was ultimately fine. Acuña’s crime? Just being good at baseball. At the time, he had homered in five consecutive games, including three games against the Marlins.
In 2019, the first-place Braves and last-place Marlins have mostly minded their own business. The Marlins, however, can certainly keep a grudge it appears. With his first pitch in the bottom of the first inning Tuesday night in Atlanta, Marlins starter Elieser Hernández hit Acuña in the hip.
Home plate umpire Alan Porter issued warnings to both dugouts. Braves manager Brian Snitker wasn’t happy about his side having received a warning for no reason, and was ejected by first base umpire Mark Wegner. Hernández would hit Adeiny Hechavarría with a pitch in the fourth inning — seemingly unintentionally — and was not ejected. Other than that, there were no more incidents and cooler heads prevailed.
Acuña finished 1-for-4 in the Braves’ 5-1 win. Freddie Freeman hit two home runs and knocked in four runs.