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I am a freelance writer. I've covered the Cincinnati Reds, Bengals and others since 1992. I have a background in sales as well. I've sold consumer electronics, advertising and consumer package goods for companies ranging from the now defunct Circuit City to Procter&Gamble. I have worked as a stats operator for Xavier University, the University of Cincinnati, the College of Mount St. Joe and Colerain High School.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Jeff Francis Much Better For Reds in 10-2 Win Over San Francisco

Jeff Francis was beaten, abused and tattooed by the Texas Rangers Monday night. By the end of Friday, the free agent had given up 11 runs and 11 hits.

On Saturday the lefhander allowed a single to the second batter of the game. He then retired 15 straight batters. Brandon Phillips made a diving stop and turned it into a double play.

Francis completed seven innings and allowed a home run to Joaquin Arias in his last inning. It was one of the three hits the Giants managed.

The Reds did nothing off Guillermo Mota but blasted former teammate, Jeremy Affeldt. Scott Rolen, Jay Bruce and Drew Stubbs had two hits apiece.

Todd Frazier and Juan Francisco had big hits in the fifth inning. They are in the mix to be Scott Rolen's back up. The Reds pounded 18 hits, extending a positive trend building momentum to start the regular season.

"It was the second time this week we scored some runs," Dusty Baker said. "It's important to go into the season feeling good offensively. It's good to keep winning at the end. We had a rough stretch in the middle but now we're back in sync."

The turnaround of Francis and the scoreless innings turned in by Bill Bray and Sean Marshall are meaningful. Bray missed a lot of time with a pulled groin. Marshall turned in his eight straight scoreless outing.

"Billy (Bray) isn't real sharp yet but he's getting there. I think he could be ready to start the season but I don't know if he'll be the number one lefty out of the bullpen with Marshall here."

There are 12 pitchers left in camp. The Reds won't need fifth starter the first week. Mike Leake could be optioned for another position player until his turn pops up. It is looking like
Francis may have made the team, but probably not as a starter.

"I don't know where I'm going. They haven't said anything to me. I don't know if I'll be in Cincinnnati or not. It is out of my control I will just go out and get guys out."

Francis has been a starter his entire big league career with the exception of one relief appearance.

"I've only done it (pitched out of the bullpen) in one outing but I'm ready for it."

He pitched against St. Louis while with the Colorado Rockies on the last day of the 2010 season. He gave up two runs on four hits that day.

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