GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Veteran lefty starter Jeff Francis was a curious addition to the Reds when he signed a Minor League deal late in the offseason. The club already had six strong contenders for five rotation spots before he came aboard. With that in mind, what did Francis see that made him a good fit in Cincinnati? "I don't know if it was anything in particular. I think it was more the idea that they were really interested in having me for this role and to come to Spring Training," Francis said on Monday. "I've come in to see what I can do and hopefully I can help this team."
Francis, 31, will earn $800,000 this season should he make the club out of camp, where he is a non-roster invite. He can opt out if he doesn't make the team, or if he is still in the Minors by June 1. During 2011 with the Royals, Francis was 6-16 with a 4.82 ERA in 31 starts. Despite his record, he had good command, with only 39 walks -- the fourth-fewest among Major League pitchers. His 183 innings pitched were his most since his 17-win, 215-inning season with the National League-champion Rockies in 2007. In 2009 with Colorado, Francis lost the entire season because of left shoulder surgery. He missed time early in 2010 as he tried to come back, and later that year experienced tendinitis. There were no such issues last season in Kansas City. "It's been three years since the surgery," Francis said. "I think I've done the things I can do to make sure I am strong and can last the whole year. I showed that I could last year. I have put it past me. My shoulder feels good. I feel like I can be successful and get people out."