Francis' rehab progresses with bullpen session

Francis' rehab progresses with bullpen session

SAN FRANCISCO -- Rockies left-hander Jeff Francis, who suffered a left groin strain May 14 while pitching against the Cubs, threw a bullpen session of about 25 pitches Friday. His next steps are a trip to the team's training center in Scottsdale, Ariz., for extended spring training, then he'll return to Denver for an evaluation to discuss further rehab plans.

Francis said his condition is improving, but he isn't pushing it. As was the case at the time of the injury -- he suffered the injury in the second of his six innings in the victory over the Cubs -- it isn't a problem when he pitches. His stretching exercises have been gentle ones, and he has limited his running to jogging. He'll have his big test with fielding practice -- moving off the mound for bunts, backing up bases and covering first base.

"So far I've done all the stuff I normally do, but when it comes to the groin, I'm gentle with it," Francis said.

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.