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Francoeur misses first game since '05

Francoeur misses first game since '05

ATLANTA -- Jeff Francoeur has said he'd never take himself out of the lineup. But for the first time since his 2005 rookie season, the Braves right fielder found out what it feels like to not be in the starting lineup.

After the first game of Tuesday's doubleheader against the Mets at Turner Field, Braves manager Bobby Cox met with Francoeur and told him that he wouldn't start the second game of the twin bill.

Thus when the nightcap began, Francoeur found himself on the bench to start a game for the first time since Oct. 1, 2005. Since then, he had started a Major League-high 370 consecutive games. This also stood as the longest consecutive games-played streak in the Majors.

"It was weird," Francoeur said. "I needed tonight mentally more than anything. ... It's more important for me to get back on track than to keep any streak alive. This last week has been just a mental grind for me and the game wasn't fun."

Even though there was once a thought that Lou Gehrig's consecutive games streak would never be broken until Cal Ripken Jr. achieved the feat, nobody even gave thought to Francoeur catching Ripken by playing in another 2,262 consecutive games.

When asked while the Braves were in Pittsburgh more than a week ago, Francoeur said that he'd never ask Cox to keep him out of the lineup. This came despite the fact that he's admittedly battled a sore right foot throughout the season.

Francoeur's response came at the end of a 17-game span, during which he hit .212 with no homers and eight RBIs. In the nine games that have followed he has batted .263 (10-for-38).

This season, Francoeur has batted .258 with three homers and 26 RBIs. Last week, he said that he wasn't concerned about his small homer total. Through his first 44 games last year, he was hitting .310 with seven homers and 34 RBIs.

"I think I've been overworking it," Francoeur said. "Tonight, Bobby wanted me to just sit back and chill, and I did."

Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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