On Tuesday, the Atlanta Braves announced that they will reward right fielder Jeff Francoeur with a roster spot, and he will officially be at Turner Field next Monday.
Originally signed as a veteran expected to start the season in the minors, Francoeur was excited for the opportunity to join the Braves in camp and hoped he’d work his way up to a major-league roster spot. Francoeur has, in fact, done that, and don’t let anyone tell you the only reason he’ll be in the Braves’ dugout on Opening Day is because he’s a local favorite and the front office gave him a gift.
Jeff Francoeur has absolutely earned that roster spot through his play this spring.
In 49 at-bats, Francoeur posted a .327 batting average with a home run and four RBIs. Against left-handers, Frenchy is 8 for 20 with three doubles and a home run, according to Mark Bowman of MLB.com. That’ll get you a spot on a mediocre roster every time.
Of course, this is a win-win for the franchise, as they get to bring back a memorable player who will likely be one of few names the fans will recognize this season, but Braves GM John Coppolella insisted this decision was performance-based.
“Frenchy earned it,” Coppolella told MLB.com. “Every step of the way, he came in here, he played well and did everything we’d hoped he would do this spring.”
Proving further that this wasn’t a guarantee, the Braves’ decision to give Francoeur a roster spot means they’re one player over the Opening Day limit. That likely means, Bowman also said, that the Braves will probably either trade outfielder Michael Bourn or cut second baseman Emilio Bonifacio.
So break out those Francoeur shirts and jerseys, because there’s a good reason to wear them to the ballpark again.
Photo: AP/John RaouxFollow @Sean_Breslin