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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.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Texas Crushes Reds But Bill Bray Is Back Juan Francisco Coming On

The Texas Rangers scored 11 runs off Reds starter Jeff Francis in its 12-2 win over the Reds Monday night.

"It's frustrating. I've had days like this before. It wasn't my first and it won't be my last," Francis said.

"I talked to Hany (catcher Ryan Hanigan). He said that most of the balls Francis threw were down the middle. This is the wrong team to be centering the ball on. They have a juggernaut over there. They're the best I've seen....in recent times," Baker said.

He is trying to make the team as a non-roster minor league signee. The other significant pitcher was Bill Bray, who made his first appearance, he missed all of the games to this point with a strained right groin.

"Francis had a decent year last year," Baker said. "He's coming back from an injury a couple years ago. He has to be sharp and we have to catch the ball behind him. There were a couple of plays there that opened the gates."

Bray faced five hitters. He gave up a pair of singles and struck out the other three Rangers.

"It felt good once I got that first fastball out of the way," Bray said. "I have three more appearances left. I was really pleased. It will take me a week or so to come back. I haven't done a lot the last month."

The Reds have eight exhibitions left, including the Spring Showcase against top minor leaguers on April 3 at Great American Ball Park. Bray has three appearances scheduled.

"I think I'll have enough time," Bray said. "I'm going to give it my best shot."

Dusty Baker is hoping that Bray can be ready having already lost Ryan Madson for the season.

"Bray looked better. He looked better than he did the last time (minor league game). His breaking ball was sharper. His command was better, a lot better.

Baker took positives from the game though.

Francisco had two hits, including a long opposite field home run to avoid the shutout.

"We can take Francisco's night out of it. The young kid (Travis) Webb threw the ball good and Jose Arredondo threw the ball good.

"Franciso has to show us more. He hasn't had a very good spring. We're trying to get him at bats," Baker said.

Francisco had a strained calf the first couple weeks and showed up 12 pounds overweight.

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