The Colorado Rockies quietly cleared out the locker of veteran southpaw Jeff Francis on Wednesday in order to make room in the clubhouse for Roy Oswalt, who will make his 2013 debut for the Rockies on Thursday, reports Troy Renck of the Denver Post.
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While the roster move is not official just yet, Francis did not join the club on its flight from Toronto to Washington D.C., so it appears a foregone conclusion that the left-hander's time in Rockies' rotation is at an end. Reportedly, Colorado would like to keep Francis in the organization by optioning him to Triple-A, but because of his MLB service time the team would need permission from the southpaw to do so.
The 32-year-old Francis has struggled in his second year back with Colorado, posting a 6.58 ERA in 52 innings over 11 starts this season. His strikeout rate is up, but everything else has gone up along with it, which is seldom a recipe for success.
Signed to a minor-league deal on May 2, the 35-year-old Oswalt fared well in his five warm-up starts at Double-A, throwing an 8⅓-inning, seven-strikeout gem in his final time out last Friday. In all, Oswalt posted a 2.16 earned-run average in 33⅓ innings for Tulsa and topped 90 pitches in his last four outings.
Oswalt's last go at a mid-season comeback in a pitcher-friendly park did not go well -- a 5.80 ERA in 59 innings with the Rangers -- but the Rockies obviously feel that he can help the rotation. The veteran right-hander will take on the Nationals in D.C. Thursday evening.