Francis returns to Rockies, to start Saturday

Francis returns to Rockies, to start Saturday

DENVER -- The Rockies have reached an agreement with left-handed pitcher Jeff Francis, their ace during their World Series trip in 2007, and are expected to start him Saturday afternoon against the Angels at Coors Field, the Denver Post reported Thursday morning.

The Rockies have not made an official announcement.

Francis, 31, signed a Minor League contract this winter with the Reds and went 3-6 with a 3.72 ERA for Triple-A Louisville. He exercised an option in his contract by asking for his release after pitching a complete-game shutout on Sunday, just in time to join a Rockies rotation depleted by injuries and struggling through inexperience.

Francis went 55-50 for the Rockies in six seasons, including 17-9 in 2007. Shoulder problems, including a surgery that cost him the 2009 season, derailed the rest of his time with the Rockies. Francis joined the Royals in 2011 and went 6-16 with a 4.82 ERA in 31 starts, but the positive was he stayed healthy.

Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, and follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.