Jeff Francis Is Doing What?
The Colorado Rockies enter their upcoming west coast road trip under unique circumstances. In no particular order, the reasons include: a doubleheader each of the last two weeks thanks to snow in Denver, Jhoulys Chacin being placed on the disabled list, and Todd Helton‘s struggles with a strained left forearm. It is assumed, then, that the Rockies have had to shuffle things around on the roster a little bit.
Francis. Image: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
How well they have done so is debatable. They did not take advantage of the chance to call up an extra player (pitcher?) for either doubleheader, which was particularly puzzling against the Mets. One also cannot help but wonder how much longer they can afford to have Helton be a dead spot on the bench before they are forced to place him on the DL.
Bullpen struggles combined with Chacin’s injury meant that Josh Outman and Rob Scahill were called up to the big club. In turn, Chris Volstad was sent down to Colorado Springs, where he will apparently work as a starter, proving my theory that the Rockies are determined to make good on their insistence that some pitchers will be “hybrids” this season. Though I’m not sure they know what that actually means…
Scahill then returned to AAA so that Tyler Chatwood could take Chacin’s spot in the rotation yesterday. But one big problem remains for the starting rotation; the team will play 6 games in 5 days thanks to Monday’s postponement. That means one member of the rotation lost out on a day of rest. Guess who (via Denver Post):
"Jeff Francis will start Saturday’s game on three days of rest, something he did eight times last season when the Rockies were using limited pitch counts. Francis started the first game of a doubleheader against the Braves on Tuesday, throwing 75 pitches in four innings and allowing his first three homers of the season."
Yesterday Yorvit Torrealba played first base. Now Jeff Francis, he of the 8.44 ERA, will start in Arizona on three days rest in April. In April!
Say this for the Rockies: they are keeping things interesting.