Francisco proves to be good sub for Chipper

Francisco proves to be good sub for Chipper

CINCINNATI -- Juan Francisco's return to Cincinnati began with a start at third base.

The ex-Red batted seventh as he started for the third straight game in place of the injured Chipper Jones, who is still dealing with a bruised left calf injury suffered last Friday against the Rays.

The Braves acquired Francisco from the Reds in exchange for right-handed reliever J.J. Hoover on April 1. Monday was Francisco's 15th start at third base this season, and he's hitting .240 with three home runs -- including a solo shot off the Reds' Mike Leake in the top of the second inning on Monday -- and 11 RBIs in those starts.

"I feel comfortable with everything, and I'm working hard every day, waiting for the opportunity," said Francisco. "This trade has been good for me. I've got a good opportunity here to play more than in Cincinnati."

Francisco split time between the Reds and the Minors the past three seasons, hitting .284 with five home runs and 29 RBIs in 81 games with Cincinnati.

"We got him to spell Chipper," said Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez. "Not to wish injury or any length of DL time on Chipper, [but] that's why we got him, to give him a breather every once in a while, and he's done that. He's done fine and well."