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04/26/08 4:15 PM ET
Francisco's spot used to recall Sowers
Outfielder odd man out as Tribe has little roster flexibility
By Anthony Castrovince / MLB.com
CLEVELAND -- Eric Wedge has seen enough of Ben Francisco to know what kind of player the young outfielder is. "He's a big leaguer," Wedge said matter-of-factly Saturday. Just not at the moment. As expected, the 26-year-old Francisco was sent back down to Triple-A Buffalo to clear room for Jeremy Sowers, who joined the rotation Saturday in place of the injured Jake Westbrook. Francisco was only with the club for four days. He went 2-for-6 with a double and an RBI at the plate and got one start in right field. Last season, Francisco, in addition to winning the International League batting title, made his Major League debut and batted .274 with three homers and 12 RBIs in 25 games. The Indians, though, don't have room for Francisco, mainly because they are carrying Andy Marte as a backup third baseman. In the outfield, left fielder David Dellucci has recovered from a slow start, batting .324 over the last 12 games and hitting a homer in three of the last five. Dellucci's platoon mate, Jason Michaels, has labored most of the month and batted .200 (8-for-40) over the last 13 games. But he's driven in seven runs in that span and has five RBIs in his last five games. Over in right field, Franklin Gutierrez is batting just .229 for the season but has hit in nine of his last 12 games, batting .273 with a homer and five RBIs in that stretch. Francisco is in the second of three Minor League option years, so the business side of the game has held him back. "It's just a matter of time before he's here and can help us," Wedge said. "He was great, a total pro. He's very confident. He needs to go down there and be ready for us when we call upon him, because it's just a matter of time." The Indians will need to make another roster move Monday to make room for left-hander Aaron Laffey and his spot start. Wedge would not reveal what that move might be.
Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.