Francis proud of Canada's Classic effort

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Rockies left-hander Jeff Francis watched the television with nothing but pride as Canada was falling short at the end of its 9-4 loss to Team USA in the World Baseball Classic.

Francis, a Vancouver native, pitched for the Canadians in the inaugural Classic in 2006, but was injured and didn't represent his country in 2009. Francis turned down the chance this year, saying he needed to focus on the Rockies.

He especially enjoyed watching catcher Chris Robinson, who throws with him during the winter in London, Ont., where Francis now lives.

"They were up in the seventh inning, so they didn't miss me," Francis said. "I enjoy watching them. I'm really proud of them."

In Sunday's 6-1 loss to the Dodgers, Francis threw four scoreless innings before giving up three runs on four hits in the fifth and was removed with one out because manager Walt Weiss did not want him going much beyond 70 pitches at this point of the spring. Francis had not given up a run before Sunday.

"I thought it was another good outing for him," Weiss said. "He could've gone longer. He wanted to stay in the game in that situation."

Weiss said Francis is in the mix for the Opening Day start on April 1 at Milwaukee, although matchups with the Brewers and the home opener on April 5 against the Padres are considerations, as well.

Thomas Harding is a reporter for 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.