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Francoeur back in playoffs with Texas

Photo by Kathy Willens

Photo by Kathy Willens

When Brian McCann and Jeff Francoeur came up from Class AA and helped spark the Braves to their 14th consecutive division title in 2005, it looked like postseasons together with their hometown team would be a regular event for the Gwinnett County products.

Of course, that didn't happen.

The Braves are back in the playoffs after four straight misses, although as a wild card for the first time. And Francoeur has been traded not just once, but twice.

The second time paid off for the former Parkview star, who joined Texas at the end of August in a trade from the New York Mets.

The deal, when the Mets were in Atlanta, just beat the deadline for Francoeur to be eligible for postseason play, and he could be in the starting lineup when the Rangers open their American League Division Series against Tampa Bay on Wednesday in St. Petersburg.

The right-handed hitting outfielder platooned with the Rangers during the final month of the season and the Rays will start left-hander David Price in the opener of the best-of-five series.

Francoeur finished the season with a .249 average, 13 homers and 65 RBIs in 139 games with the Mets and Rangers, but had a strong final month in Texas. He hit .340 in 15 games after the trade and drove in 11 runs. Included were games with four and three hits, each including a homer.

Francoeur was at his best against left-handed pitching, batting .400 with the Rangers after hitting.280 for the Mets. Combined, he had four homes and 18 RBIs against lefties.

Making $5 million this season, Francoeur will likely be non-tendered at the end of the season by Texas and become a free agent. That means the 26-year-old could be with his fourth team in less than 24 months at the beginning of next season.