Jeff Francoeur: minor league pitcher

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HBT favorite Jeff Francoeur was released by the Indians in spring training and was picked up on a minor league deal by the Padres. He’s been playing at El Paso all season and he’s hitting a Francoeurian .277 with a low OBP and some decent pop. It’s what he’s always done, really, and given that his parent club has a pretty lackluster offense, it wouldn’t be shocking if he was patrolling right field in San Diego sometime this season.

But for now, he’s making the most of it. And part of making the most of it is as El Paso’s mopup man. He’s pitched five and a third innings over six appearances, allowing four hits and three earned runs with three walks and four strikeouts. Not great, but not nothing. He is said to have a fastball in the low 90s and a serviceable slider.

That all comes in this excellent New York Times story by Tyler Kepner, who features both Francoeur and former major leaguer Jason Lane. Himself an outfielder at one time but now a full-time pitcher and frequent pinch hitter. The angle on the story is how Francoeur is pitching for fun and Lane is pitching for his career. Or at least to prolong it. There are some good observations in there too about how, in this day of 13-man pitching staffs and very thin major league benches, a swingman like Lane or possibly even Francoeur could become less of a novelty and might actually serve a useful purpose on a big league club.

Great story. Check it out.

Blue Jays designate Edwin Jackson for assignment

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Back in May journeyman Edwin Jackson debuted with the Toronto Blue Jays. When he did so, he made history by suiting up for a record 14th different team in his 17-year big league career.

Sadly the 14th time wasn’t the charm, as Jackson has been knocked around pretty good with Toronto, posting an 11.12 ERA in 28 and a third innings over eight appearances, five of which came as starts. He was just insanely hittable over that span, allowing a staggering 15.6 hits per nine innings. As such, it’s not too surprising that the Jays designated Jackson for assignment today. They did so to make room for Jacob Waguespack, who will start tonight’s game against the Red Sox.

Jackson, 35, will not try to latch on with team number 15. Or, I suppose, he he has almost even odds to re-join an old team.