CINCINNATI -- Like some of his past offseasons, Reds third baseman and prospect Juan Francisco has posted some very productive Winter League numbers. However, Francisco's solid winter in the Dominican Republic has been interrupted by a right leg injury. He hasn't played for the Ciabao Gigantes since Dec. 10 and hasn't participated in his club's postseason to this point. Francisco fouled a pitch off his leg under his right knee and had to be hospitalized when it became inflamed and infected. The knee had to be drained.
"He's fine," Reds general manager Walt Jocketty said. "A contusion has kept him out, but it's nothing serious." Francisco, 23, has been practicing the last few days and could potentially play if the Gigantes reach the Dominican League finals. In 39 games for the Gigantes, Francisco is batting .322 (49-for-152) with eight home runs, 30 RBIs, a .380 on-base percentage and .559 slugging percentage. Last winter, he was named the Dominican League's Most Valuable Player. One of the organization's more promising young left-handed power hitters, Francisco spent 36 games with the Reds last season and batted .273 with one homer and seven RBIs. In 77 games with Louisville, he batted .286 with 18 homers and 59 RBIs. With limited bench spots available, Francisco will have a tough battle to earn a place on the Reds' 25-man roster during Spring Training. For one of the remaining bench spots, he'll likely be competing against fellow prospects like Yonder Alonso, Chris Heisey, Todd Frazier and Chris Valaika, along with recently signed outfielder Jeremy Hermida.