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Schuerholz says Francoeur won't fill void in CF

AUGUSTA - Despite rumors and some fans' wishful thinking after the departure of Andruw Jones, it's not likely the Braves will move Jeff Francoeur from right field to center to fill the void.

John Schuerholz, the Braves' general manager for 16 seasons, until last week when he took over as president, said the team needs to shore up its starting pitching and to replace Andruw Jones in center field. But Francoeur, with his five-tool repertoire, isn't a candidate for the position.

"We need to find someone to play center field, but it won't be this fellow," Schuerholz said, referring to Francoeur. "I know that's something a lot of people have been talking about, but I don't think we'll do that."

Schuerholz did say the team and new general manager Frank Wren have been working hard to find some starting pitching.

"If we can get some starting pitching, which we're working hard on and which I believe we will have fixed, and if we can get Mike Hampton back, find a center fielder and add a couple of pieces on the bench, I think we'll be fine," Schuerholz said.

"I told (Wren) when he took over that now he's got all the pieces in place to have a good team, so 'Go get 'em kid.'"

Schuerholz and Francoeur were featured guests at the annual Fellowship of Christian Athletes banquet and rally at Warren Baptist Church on Tuesday night.

Schuerholz, a Hall of Fame candidate after 26 years as a general manager and 42 in baseball, and Francoeur, 23, the budding face of the franchise, both spoke about the role of faith in their lives.

"Baseball is a huge priority for me, and there's no one on the team that wants to win more than I do, but it's not the priority in my life," said Francoeur.

"Being open about my faith and talking to people about it is something I enjoy because it's the most important thing in my life."

Schuerholz also talked about his recent decision to resign as Braves general manager to become president.

"I loved the job and couldn't have been more blessed, but I just felt in my heart like it was time to do something else," he said. "For me and for the organization, it was the right time to make the decision."