Athletics pick up Jeff Francis off of waivers from the Reds

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Jeff Francis was designated for assignment by the Reds on Friday after starting the second half of Thursday’s double-header against the Padres. The left-hander has been claimed off of waivers by the Athletics, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The team will announce it after Sunday’s game against the Indians.

Aside from the one start with the Reds, Francis had spent the 2014 season with Triple-A Louisville. There, he posted a 3.33 ERA with a 45/12 K/BB ratio in 48 2/3 innings over eight starts. Francis was converted into a reliever by the Rockies in the second half of the 2013 season after posting poor results out of the rotation. The A’s will use him as a long man out of the bullpen and as a spot starter, if necessary.

To make room on the 40-man roster, the Athletics placed infielder Jake Elmore on the 60-day disabled list. To make room on the 25-man roster, the Athletics optioned pitcher Joe Savery to Triple-A Sacramento.

Bryce Harper played some third base in an intrasquad game

Bryce Harper third base
Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
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Phillies star outfielder Bryce Harper played some third base during Monday’s intrasquad game at Citizens Bank Park, Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports. Harper had been pestering manager Joe Girardi for the opportunity and the skipper finally gave in.

Girardi told Harper, “No diving. And make sure your arm is loose.” Harper had the opportunity to field one ball, a grounder to his left and he made the play perfectly.

Why put Harper at third base? Girardi said, “I think it’s important the guys have fun. I saw him a week ago taking ground balls there and I was impressed. His hands worked well out front and he threw the ball across the field well. I told him, ‘You look good there.'”

Despite the solid showing, don’t expect Harper to show up at third base in a meaningful game anytime soon. That being said, the Phillies’ second and third base situations are still not cemented. Jean Segura will likely open the season at the hot corner with Scott Kingery at second, but things could change between now and Opening Day in 10 days.

Harper, 27, is coming off a solid first season with the Phillies. He hit .260/.372/.510 with 36 doubles, 35 home runs, 114 RBI, 98 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases across 682 plate appearances. Per FanGraphs, Harper’s 4.6 Wins Above Replacement ranked 16th in the National League. For some people, those numbers weren’t nearly good enough, so the expectations remain high as Harper enters year two of his 13-year, $330 million contract.