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Jeff Francoeur: minor league pitcher

Jun 2, 2014, 8:49 AM EDT

Francoeur Getty Getty Images

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.

  1. gbart22 - Jun 2, 2014 at 9:36 AM

    At what point does your obsession with francoeur become a little scary? You say hbt favorite but really it’s just a Craig obsession so you continually write stories about him. Leave the guy be man.

    On a better topic everyone always kills loria in Miami but can we acknowledge the marlins sure know how to rebuild quickly and identify other peoples talent when they go into one or those fire sales. I don’t like it but it is impressive their ability to identify talent and rebuild quickly.

    • groupofsevenrules - Jun 2, 2014 at 10:12 AM

      No, Frenchy is a fan favorite and has been almost everywhere he’s played. He is the poverbial “nice guy” (didn’t he leave a thank-you ad in a New York newspaper saluting the fans and expressing his gratitude for the privilege of playing for them? Come on now, in an age of strutting prima donnas that’s worthy of being called a “favorite,” isn’t it?). Never met a kid he wouldn’t sign an autograph for. Doesn’t chase tail. And his anti-exploits have made him something of a favorite subject here too. That Craig has brought him front and center as a human interest case is warranted by how he stands out amongst his peers purely in terms of his gentlemany behavior.

      Now if only he could learn to be even a little bit more selective of pitches.

    • stlouis1baseball - Jun 2, 2014 at 10:39 AM

      Francoeur is certainly an HBT favorite.

      Of greater concern to me?
      You just used the words “Loria,” “Miami” and “impressive” in the same paragraph!

      • lukedunphysscienceproject - Jun 2, 2014 at 10:46 AM

        There are many, many, fan bases in MLB that would KILL for the Marlins record over the last twenty years. Would you like me to list all of the other teams besides them with two World Series titles in that span?

        Your Cardinals
        The Yankees
        The Red Sox
        The Giants

        That’s it. That’s the list.

      • Old Gator - Jun 2, 2014 at 10:52 AM

        The last record to kill for was eleven years ago. With an inherited team. This ownership hasn’t sniffed a postseason since. Talk bout kicking a corpse.

  2. rbj1 - Jun 2, 2014 at 9:45 AM

    Go El Paso Chihuahuas!

  3. Old Gator - Jun 2, 2014 at 10:48 AM

    I hope someone has clued Frenchy in to the Mexican food at H&H Car Wash on East Yandell. Yep, that is what I said. Car wash. You bring in your car to be washed and detailed, then go into the small, always packed, adjacent cafe for some o’ the best Tex-Mex you have ever had. Their burritos and machacas are well north of awe-inspiring, and their mole will have you shouting olĂ©! I also hope he’s breakfasting on the chorizo omelets at Luby’s (their coffe is as good as coffee brewed with dishwater could possibly be), and gnawing every last succulent shred of flesh from the t-bones at the Cattleman’s or at the Great American Land and Cattle. And if he’s in the mood for Rocky Mountain oysters – and really, who isn’t? – there’s the State Line on the west side of town.

    By the way, if you’re feeling touristy, you can ackcherely book a walking excursion into Juarez, including an option to be beaten and robbed. It’d be something to write home about – although, of course, you’d have to blink your letter to your nurse in morse code….

    • yankeesfanlen - Jun 2, 2014 at 1:21 PM

      Wonderful travelogue OG. Only needs an accompaniment by Marty Robbins and it’s ready for the road. Mayhaps the Newark Orpheum might be a starting point.

    • stlouis1baseball - Jun 2, 2014 at 2:41 PM

      Hog Fries! Yum…yum. With hot sauce and ketchup of course.
      You talk about giving a beer a fit! Outstanding!

    • doctornature - Jun 21, 2014 at 10:57 AM

      “Including an option to be beaten and robbed”

      LOL. Now THAT is funny, OG. Reminds me of my only trip to Juarez sometime back in the 70′s. I was waiting to get in a crowded bar on a crowded street…don’t remember any names…and a guy turned to me out of the blue with his hands holding 2 wooden dowels or something….and said “Would you hold these for a minute?”

      As a naive Gringo I let him hand me the rods and immediately felt the jolt of electricity serge through them like a Taser. Lucky I had no wallet, since I could not let those things go and was absolutely defenseless with my hands. I could have used feet, but I wasn’t attacked because we were right at the entrance and there were too many witnesses I guess…but ever since then I refuse any request to hold anything for anybody, and have steered clear of Juarez.

  4. wpjohnson - Jun 2, 2014 at 12:31 PM

    Francoeur is still the most popular player to ever play for the Myrtle Beach Pelicans. The fans loved him (particularly the 16 year old girls who swarmed around him) because he always found time to interact with everyone. I have good memories of his days at Coastal Federal Field and he will always be a favorite of mine. I wish him well. Baseball needs a lot more ambassadors like Francoeur.

    • yankeesfanlen - Jun 2, 2014 at 1:26 PM

      Indeed a marvelous venue for a summer evening However, commerce marches on, and it’s now TicketReturn.com stadium. Whose tickets, I know not.

  5. bbk1000 - Jul 9, 2014 at 6:07 PM

    I like Francoeur……really, it’s hard to dislike him…..

    He’s only 30 and already has 9 years in the majors…..

    I hope he sticks with pitching, he always had an arm…..

    Then again, I’m usually wrong…..

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