Francis closer to return after productive rehab start

Francis closer to return after productive rehab start

CINCINNATI -- Rockies manager Walt Weiss was happy with what he heard in the report about left-hander Jeff Francis' rehab start on Monday night for Triple-A Colorado Springs.

Francis, who suffered a slight groin strain while pitching in a win against the Cubs on May 14, threw strikes on 53 of his 80 pitches, struck out five and gave up six hits against Salt Lake City. He gave up five runs, three earned, and lasted just four frames, but defensive miscues and foul balls extended innings.

"It sounded like it went pretty well -- no physical problems," Weiss said. "When guys go out on rehab assignments, I try not to get too hung up on whatever the results were, and I think his results were pretty decent. It's a good step going forward."

According to Francis' initial rehab plan, he is scheduled to start Saturday at Reno. It's unclear if the Rockies will bring him back earlier, and have him start Saturday against the Padres instead. Righty Tyler Chatwood, the pitcher slated for that night, is dealing with right triceps soreness.

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.