May 24, 2012
I talked to Jeff Francoeur's mother, Karen, this week for my column that was in today's paper about Karen's retirement as a teacher.
While Jeff and I talked about his mom, we also discussed the Kansas City Royals' up-and-down season that is thankfully on the upswing.
Francoeur, still just 28, is the oldest regular starter on a young but talented Kansas City team. The outfielder is as popular as ever with fans and seems to enjoy his new team.
"We've got a young, fun team," Francoeur said Wednesday morning. "It's really fun to come to work every day."
It wasn't as much fun back in April.
The Royals limped to a 3-14 start that included a 12-game losing streak and a 15-day stretch without celebrating a victory. Francoeur struggled along with his teammates. In 83 April at-bats, he had no homers, three RBIs and a .229 batting average.
May has been much better to both parties.
Kansas City is up to 17-26 overall, just 8 1/2 games off the lead in the American League Central. Francoeur's average is up to .259 with three home runs and 11 RBIs, but most of his success has come recently.
The former Atlanta Braves first-round pick is hitting .311 in his past 10 games, including home runs on back-to-back nights this week as the Royals played at the New York Yankees.
"I'm getting going now," Francoeur said. "As a team we got off to a horrible start. Guys were trying to do so much. But lately we've started playing good and my swing's starting to feel pretty good."
Prior to a series that starts Friday with the Orioles, Francoeur had a day off Thursday in the Baltimore area. He used it to play 36 holes of golf at Caves Valley Golf Club, a Golf Digest top 100 club in Owings Mill, Md.
"I haven't played (golf) at all lately," Francoeur said. "I haven't played since spring training."