Francis headed to AAA

*The Reds will send LHP Jeff Francis to Triple-A Louisville to begin the season and be a starter, GM Walt Jocketty said on Sunday.

“I kind of told him that the other day,” Jocketty said. “There’s still a possibility he could pitch in the bullpen but we decided to send him there because we need to have a starter available in case something happens. He pitched well enough where he would certainly be that guy. He had a good spring other than that one outing.”

Francis, a non-roster invite had a 6.65 ERA in five games. He pitched seven strong innings on Saturday vs. the Giants, but his ERA was elevated because he gave up 11 runs over three innings two outings ago. A veteran starter, Francis had a chance to opt-out of his contract if he didn’t make the club, but he said earlier in camp he didn’t plan to exercise that right.

The Reds now have 11 healthy pitchers on the roster. It doesn’t mean it will remain that way when they break camp Monday.

“We haven’t made that decision yet,” Jocketty said. “We’ve got the roster pretty well figured out, but we’ll probably have it ready for you tomorrow morning.”

*Jocketty also said that Todd Frazier’s play had a part in the decision to trade Juan Francisco. However, he would not say that Frazier had made the 25-man roster yet.

“It was a situation where Juan had a pretty good spring but we just didn’t see him fitting on the club out of spring training and he was out of options,” Jocketty said. “We were looking to add pitching depth to the organization. We believe we have.”

RHP J.J. Hoover, acquired by Atlanta, was a starter but converted to a reliever midway through last season.

“We had very good reports,” Jocketty said. “We saw him again yesterday. He was 92-94 mph yesterday. He’s a sinker-slider guy. He’s a late inning guy. He’s young. He;s got three options and he’s got a power arm. Good combination.”

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