Jeff Francoeur’s teammates in El Paso pulled off a great prank

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The Padres signed outfielder Jeff Francoeur to a minor league deal at the end of March, a week after he was released by the Indians. Francoeur, 30, had adequate results, posting a .788 OPS in 35 at-bats with the Indians during spring training, but the team just didn’t have room with him in their outfield, so he moved over to the Padres.

Francoeur reported to Triple-A El Paso and his new teammates banded together to pull off an elaborate prank on him. They pretended that pitcher Jorge Reyes was deaf and Francoeur bit it, hook, line, and sinker, despite some obvious tells. Watch the prank in the video below, which includes Francoeur’s reaction when he learns the truth:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2llUpTmIkdc%5D

Tip of the cap to Nick Piecoro.

Braves ace Mike Soroka out for year with torn Achilles

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Atlanta Braves ace Mike Soroka is out for the season after tearing his right Achilles tendon Monday night against the New York Mets.

Soroka was hurt in the third inning after delivering a pitch to J.D. Davis, who grounded the ball toward first baseman Freddie Freeman.

Soroka broke toward first to cover the bag, only to go down on his first step off the mound. The right-hander knew right away it was a devastating injury, one that ensures he won’t be back on the mound until 2021.

“It’s a freak thing that happened,” manager Brian Snitker said, delivering the grim news after the Braves lost 7-2 to the Mets. “I’m sorry it did.”

Soroka yelled in obvious pain and tried to walk gingerly for a couple of steps before dropping to his knees. He couldn’t put any weight on the leg as he was helped toward the clubhouse with the assistance of Snitker and a trainer.

It was a major blow to the two-time defending NL East champion Braves, who had won five straight despite struggling to put together an effective rotation.

“Somebody else is going to get an opportunity,” Snitker said. “Things like that happen. These guys will regroup. Somebody is going to get an opportunity to do something really good. Our young guys are going to continue to get better. We’re going to be fine.”

Soroka, who turns 23 on Tuesday, made his first opening day start last month after going 13-4 with a dazzling 2.68 ERA in 2019 to finish second in NL Rookie of the Year balloting and sixth for the Cy Young Award.

Soroka was making his third start of the season. He came in having allowed just two earned runs over 11 1/3 innings but struggled against the Mets, giving up three hits and four walks. He was charged with four earned runs in 2 1/3 innings, the second-shortest outing of his career.

Unfortunately for Soroka, he won’t get a chance to make up for it this season.