"The shoulder feels good," Francis said. "It's pain-free, so that's a good thing."
Francis will throw another side session on Saturday before starting for Double-A Tulsa on Monday when the Drillers play at Arkansas. He's expected to pitch the first three innings of that game, and if all goes well, he will make his second start on July 26. After that, he will be reevaluated.
Francis, who won a career-high 17 games last season, has struggled to a 3-7 record in 2008. After experiencing pain during his last couple starts, Francis was placed on the 15-day disabled list on July 3, retroactive to June 29, with inflammation in his pitching shoulder.
Jeff Birnbaum is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.