Reds add pop with Francisco callup

Reds add pop with Francisco callup

CINCINNATI -- Word of Juan Francisco's power has spread with every promotion, and now it will be on the bench at the Reds' disposal.

The only question is how many chances Francisco, a left-handed-hitting third baseman, will get to display his sock in the Majors over the final three weeks. Obviously, the Reds already have a third baseman for this year and next in Scott Rolen.

"Like a lot of September callups, I'll use him to pinch-hit and maybe play third base on days that Rolen doesn't play," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "That's it for now."

Francisco was promoted from Triple-A Louisville on Monday after the Bats' playoff run ended vs. Durham. He got the word from Louisville manager Rick Sweet.

"I didn't think I was coming up," said Francisco, who was assigned uniform No. 64. "After the game, he went to my locker and said, 'I have to talk to you before you leave.' [He said,] 'Congratulations you're going up.'"

In 131 games combined with Double-A Carolina and Louisville, Francisco batted .295 with 31 homers and 93 RBIs. He showed no signs of adjustment issues after his promotion to Triple-A, batting .359 with five homers and 17 RBIs in 22 games.

In 2008, when he was at high Class A Sarasota, Francisco was named the Reds' Minor League Hitter of the Year. This season, he was a Southern League All-Star.

Reds right fielder Jay Bruce, who spent the past 10 games with Louisville on a rehab assignment, witnessed Francisco's ability first-hand.

"He's got some special pop, I'll tell you that," Bruce said. "He's got a chance to be a really, really good player. It's all about learning and making adjustments, so we'll see."

With Rolen entrenched at the hot corner, the Reds will eventually take a look at Francisco in left field.

"I played two games there at Triple-A. I can do it. I'm ready," the 22-year-old Francisco said.

Not so fast.

"We're working him out in the outfield. But you just don't come up in the big leagues and just play outfield for the first time," Baker said. "[Coach Billy Hatcher] will work him out every day and hope we see some improvement. He'll go to the Instructional League, where there is very little pressure down there and let him play down there and hone his skills."

Francisco got a chance to swing right away. In the seventh inning of the Reds' 3-1 victory over the Astros on Monday, Francisco made his debut as a pinch-hitter and struck out against reliever Sammy Gervacio.

Pitching matchup
CIN: RHP Kip Wells (1-4, 5.21 ERA)
In a 5-1 loss to the Rockies on Thursday -- in which all five runs were scored with two outs in the third inning -- Wells pitched five innings and allowed five earned runs and six hits with three walks and three strikeouts. His downfall was not being able to cleanly field a two-out bunt by Eric Young Jr., which opened the door to the Colorado rally. Wells said he poorly located his slider during that inning, which led to a two-run double by Jason Giambi and a two-run homer by Garrett Atkins.

HOU: RHP Roy Oswalt (8-6, 4.03 ERA)
Oswalt was roughed up Thursday against the Braves in Houston, giving up 10 hits and six runs in two innings in his second-shortest start of the season. The good news is he's facing a Cincinnati team he's owned over his career. He's 23-1 with a 2.46 ERA in 31 career games (29 starts) against the Reds, including 7-1 with a 3.29 ERA in 10 starts at Great American Ball Park. He's faced the Reds three times this year and has a 2.37 ERA. Oswalt's 15 no-decisions this year are tied for a club record.

Injury report
Three players currently on the disabled list, outfielders Laynce Nix and Willy Taveras and catcher Ramon Hernandez, took early batting practice on the field on Monday. Nix, who had a bulging disk in his neck, is eligible to come off the DL on Tuesday. Hernandez, who has been out because of left knee surgery since July 20, could be ready by the weekend. Taveras, who has been out since Aug. 19 with a right quadriceps strain, reported that he still felt some soreness.

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Up next
• Wednesday: Reds (Justin Lehr, 4-2, 4.93) vs. Astros (Bud Norris, 5-3, 5.44), 7:10 p.m. ET
• Thursday: Reds (Johnny Cueto, 9-10, 4.41) vs. Marlins (Anibal Sanchez, 2-6, 4.43), 7:10 p.m. ET
• Friday: Reds (Homer Bailey, 5-5, 5.56) vs. Marlins (Chris Volstad, 9-12, 5.17), 7:10 p.m. ET

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.