Francoeur given rest in finale

Francoeur given rest in finale

NEW YORK -- After Tuesday night's 10-inning loss to the Mets, Jeff Francoeur was among the many Braves who were upset that they had squandered yet another impressive effort from Jair Jurrjens. Adding to Francoeur's frustrations was the fact that he'd gone hitless in five at-bats and left seven runners on base -- five during the final three innings.

In the midst of his roughest stretch of the season, Francoeur found himself out of the starting lineup for the first time this season during Wednesday afternoon's series finale against the Mets. But the 25-year-old right fielder did enter the game in the seventh inning.

Before the game dictated that he make this mid-game substitution, Braves manager Bobby Cox said he wanted to take advantage of the opportunity to allow Francoeur to essentially rest for back-to-back days. Thursday's scheduled day off is the last one the Braves will have until June 1.

"He's been going non-stop throughout the offseason and then he played so much during Spring Training," Cox said. "I just wanted give him a chance to rest."

During his first 15 games this year, Francoeur hit .317 with a .795 OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging percentage). In the 18 games that followed entering Wednesday, he'd hit .216 with a .238 on-base percentage and a .324 slugging percentage.

With Francoeur gaining a rare day off, Matt Diaz was given the chance to make his third career start in right field. Diaz's most recent start there had occurred while he was with the Royals on Sept. 27, 2005. During that game, he recorded two hits, including a seventh-inning leadoff homer, off Johan Santana, who was then with the Twins.

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