Jeff Francoeur skipped over Class AAA on his way to the majors. Now he is using a little time at the highest level of the minors to get back.
San Francisco has a need for an outfielder after losing Angel Pagan, likely for the season. But the former Parkview standout needed to get his stroke back at the plate after being released by Kansas City.
Francoeur had just two hits over his first 13 at-bats with Fresno of the Pacific Coast League, but the Giants were expected to call him up as early as Saturday and platoon him in left field.
The Giants promised Francoeur that they didn’t plan to keep him in the minors long.
“Sooner the better,” Francoeur told the Fresno Bee. “We’ve talked about a few scenarios. We’ll see how things go here.”
The Giants hope that Francoeur can revive his career just like Pat Burrell did in 2010, when San Francisco won its first of two World Series titles in three years. The team also got a boost from the late addition of Cody Ross that season.
“I talked to other teams in the process, but seeing what (Burrell and Ross) did and helping them with a World Series, that’s my goal,” Francoeur told the Fresno newspaper. “That’s why I signed here.”
The defending champs have struggled mightily this season and are desperate for a lift. The Giants have a gaping hole in left field and the Royals remain on the hook for most of Francoeur’s salary for the season.
Francoeur received a two-year deal worth $13.5 million to re-sign with Kansas City after hitting .285 with 47 doubles, 20 homers, 87 RBIs and 22 stolen bases in 2011. But he fell off to a .235 average and 16 homers last season and was batting .208 with three homers this year.
Francoeur hasn’t played in the minors since 2008, when he was demoted briefly by the Braves to Class AA Mississippi and went 7-for-13 in three games.
The 2002 first-round draft choice reached the majors with Atlanta in 2005 and was an instant success, hitting .300 with 14 homers and 45 RBIs in 70 games and landing on the cover of Sports Illustrated.
Francoeur, though, has had as many downs as ups since driving in 103 runs with the Braves in 2006 and 105 in 2007.
The Gold Glove right fielder was traded by his hometown team to the New York Mets during the 2009 seasons and then dealt the following season to Texas, where he got to play in the World Series.
Francoeur went into this season with a career .266 average in 1,146 games over eight seasons.