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Friday February 18, 2011 4:03 pm

Jeff Francis prospering in first week with Royals

Posted by Adrien Griffin Categories: Athletes, MLB,

Jeff FrancisThe Kansas City Royals are entering a new era without Zack Greinke. In his stead, a group of virtual unknowns will take the reigns of the starting rotation. Among that group is a newcomer, Canadian-born left-hander Jeff Francis, who has spent his entire career that began in 2004 with the Colorado Rockies. He’s got a lot to prove in Spring Training this year, and according to the Royals, he’s prospering in his first week there.

Francis wasn’t one of those typical sought-after free agents. After a shoulder injury caused him to miss all of 2009 and most of 2010, he ended up having to shop his arm around to teams after the Rockies chose not to bring him back. He chose the Royals because they had a vacancy and he wanted to be able to focus on getting back on the mound. It seemed like a perfect fit for both.

Francis will pitch for his first time in the American League. It’s a relief for him to be able to focus solely on pitching without having to worry about swinging a bat two or three times a game. However, that also means that while pitching, he can’t take advantage of facing a pitcher in the opposing lineup. He’ll be throwing to better hitters on the whole and for most teams, one-through-nine will be a threat.

It’s safe to assume Francis will win a spot in Kansas City’s starting rotation. What spot he earns is anyone’s guess. He’s come back strong from shoulder surgery and has been pitching off a mound to hitters for a while now, so it looks like he’s ready. He probably won’t emerge as an ace of the rotation, but he’s shown he’s capable of pitching deep into games and can win. Royal fans will welcome him.



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