Francoeur: Stint in minors a short one
By Charles Odum
ATLANTA ó Jeff Francoeurís stay in the minor leagues barely lasted a weekend.
Francoeur, who had four hits in his third game with Double-A Mississippi on Sunday, was recalled to the Atlanta Braves on Monday.
Francoeur was 7 for 13 (.548) with two RBIs at Mississippi.
The timing of Francoeurís four-hit game on Sunday was perfect for the Braves, who could recall the outfielder so quickly because they placed three other players on the disabled list ó relief pitchers Jeff Bennett and Manny Acosta and infielder Omar Infante.
Infante, primarily an infielder, started in left field on Sunday but left with a strained hamstring following his first-inning double.
A player can be recalled after spending less than 10 days in the minors if replacing an injured player.
iYes the three guys going on the DL made it possible, but it really was Jeffís performance down there that made this happen,î said Braves general manager Frank Wren. iJeffís performance made it something we could consider.î
Added Wren: iIt wasnít for need. We didnít lose an outfielder. We lost two pitchers and Omar Infante, who plays all over.î
The Braves wanted to recall Francoeur on a high note. They seized the opportunity provided by his 4-for-5 game on Sunday.
Francoeur can enjoy a relatively quiet return to the team in Los Angeles on Monday night. The Braves believe Francoeur, from the Atlanta area, has placed added pressure on himself to perform well in his hometown. He would have caused a media stir if he returned to the team in Atlanta.
Francoeur was hitting only .234 when he was optioned to Mississippi on Friday. He was booed by Braves fans on Thursday night when he went 0-for-4, leaving him 1-for-12 in July. He hit only .206 in June.
Francoeur hit .293 with 19 homers and 105 RBIs last season, his second straight season with more than 100 RBIs. He also won his first Gold Glove in right field.
Francoeur has eight homers and 41 RBIs this year.
Wren hopes the short stay in the minors was enough to boost Francoeurís confidence.
iWeíre very happy,î Wren said. iWhat I said on Friday was we hoped it wouldnít be too long.
iWe told Jeff (Thursday) night this could be a few days or it could be up to 20 days, just whatever it took for him to decompress and relax. We believe that has happened.
iWe just said íRelax and have fun again.í Jeff was feeling good about things and relaxed and swinging the bat.î
Bennett hurt his right arm throwing to first on Saturday. Acosta, the sixth of seven pitchers in Sundayís 7-6 victory over Houston in 17 innings, strained his hamstring as he ran out a sacrifice bunt in the 16th.
The Braves have not had a full healthy outfield most of the season. Left fielder Matt Diaz has been on the DL since May 28 with a knee injury. Center fielder Mark Kotsay returned last week after missing 33 games since May 26 with a lower back strain.