Rockies' Francis won't make final start
Struggling left-hander to be replaced Sunday by Rogers
DENVER -- Rockies manager Jim Tracy said the club will shut down starter Jeff Francis for the rest of the season and Esmil Rogers will start in the southpaw's place on Sunday in St. Louis.
Francis, who is winless in his last three starts, has struggled in his return from the disabled list after a shortened rehabilitation stint from shoulder soreness. Tuesday's start, in which he allowed four earned runs in three innings, was his third straight outing of fewer than four innings.
"I think we know where we're at with Jeff and I think Jeff knows where he's at," Tracy said. "There's some more work to be done between now and April 2011 and I don't think it's fair, because of the professionalism of the person we're talking about, to expose him again to the possibility or potential that a club could go out there and start knocking him around. That's not how I treat my players."
Francis did not pitch in 2009 after undergoing left shoulder surgery before Spring Training. A 17-game winner in 2007, the southpaw was starting to show signs of excellence before returning to the disabled list late this summer.
"It's frustrating," said Francis, who finishes 4-6 with a 4.93 ERA in 19 starts. "As good as I feel physically, I feel like I should be going out there and being really sharp. I was throwing well and had quite a bit of shoulder pain and was just praying I could feel better. Now I do, and I'm not very sharp. It's what makes it so frustrating."
Rogers has pitched in a variety of roles this season both out of the bullpen and in the starting rotation. He also saw an appearance in Wednesday's 9-7 loss, throwing four innings, allowing three hits and one earned run while striking out six.
Tracy said, as far as he's concerned, the team looks forward to having Francis back healthy in Spring Training next year.
"He's as fine a human being as you'd ever be around. He's a Rockie," Tracy said. "He is as good a teammate as you would ever want to have. Including the manager, there's a [heck] of a lot of people rooting for this guy."
Third baseman Ian Stewart, who has been out with flu-like symptoms and nursing an oblique injury, made his first start since Aug. 25 when he was at third base for Wednesday's series finale against the Dodgers. "We held back one more day [Tuesday] because of the strength issue," Tracy said. "He hadn't eaten a whole lot and didn't take batting practice [Tuesday] because of that."
Joey Nowak is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.