Braves sign Jeff Francoeur to a minor league deal

AP Photo/Chris Szagola
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Outfielder Jeff Francoeur is back with the Braves. MLB.com’s Mark Bowman reports that the Braves have inked the veteran to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.

Francoeur, 32, got his start with the Braves as they selected him in the first round — 23rd overall — of the 2002 draft. He spent parts of five seasons in the big leagues with the Braves, finishing with hot and cold numbers. They traded him to the Mets in July 2009 for Ryan Church.

Francoeur kicked around the minor leagues before signing with the Phillies for the 2015 season. In a part-time role, he hit .258/.286/.433 with 13 home runs and 45 RBI in 343 plate appearances. On a rate basis, those were his best numbers since 2011.

The Braves are set as far as starting outfield roles go with Ender Inciarte, Nick Markakis, Hector Olivera, and Michael Bourn, but Francoeur could earn a bench role as a fifth outfielder. The club will value him more for his intangibles, as he has a reputation for being great in the clubhouse.