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Still pain, but a little gain

Citizen Staff Writer



Colorado Rockies pitcher Jeff Francis says there is no timetable for when he will get his next start.

After suffering a painful shoulder injury, it likely won’t be soon.

“The best case scenario is that I am pitching off the mound in the next three or four days,” he said. “Hopefully I start to build up and by the end of spring I will be able to be in a game.

“If all goes well, I might be back with the team by May.”

Francis, 28, was a vital part of the Rockies’ 2007 World Series team, going 17-9 with a 4.22 ERA.

The left-hander couldn’t repeat those numbers in 2008 because of a strained shoulder. He was placed on the disabled list and eventually shut down for the year in early September.

“It is tiresome for me to wonder how it is going to be every day,” Francis said. “Right now it is OK, not the greatest. We will see.”

Pain kept him from going after hitters aggressively in 2008, leading to a 4-10 season with a 5.01 ERA.

The agony is starting to ease.

“I have been told MRIs for throwing athletes are not 100 percent conclusive,” he said. “You never know; there might be something not showing up or just inflammation lingering around,” Francis said. “All I know is that it hurts when I throw. At times it is painful, but right now it is not that bad. That has made me a little more optimistic.”

Francis would love to say he will make a decision whether surgery is needed, or if he can take the mound by a designated day, but he won’t. He can’t.

“It was just a gradual thing that I have been dealing with for close to a year. You don’t want it to flair up again,” Francis said.

“The trainers and I got together and said we will give it about a week once I got down here, but there is no deadline. It is not (Feb.) 19th, not March 1st, it is not April 1st. It will probably be sooner than later.”


Spring training dates for the Diamondbacks and Rockies:

Wednesday: All players may report.

Feb. 25: Opener, D’backs at Rockies, 1:05 p.m., Hi Corbett Field

Feb. 26: White Sox at Rockies, 1:05 p.m., Hi Corbett; D’backs at Indians, 1:05 p.m., Goodyear

Feb. 27: White Sox at D’backs, 1:05 p.m., Tucson Electric Park; Rockies at Angels, 1:05 p.m., Tempe

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