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Jeff Francis to Return to Colorado Rockies

DENVER - SEPTEMBER 13:  Starting pitcher Jeff Francis #26 of the Colorado Rockies delivers against the San Diego Padres at Coors Field on September 13 2010 in Denver Colorado.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
DENVER - SEPTEMBER 13: Starting pitcher Jeff Francis #26 of the Colorado Rockies delivers against the San Diego Padres at Coors Field on September 13 2010 in Denver Colorado. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
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The Colorado Rockies have agreed to a major league deal in principle with free agent left-hander Jeff Francis, reports Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post.

A stalwart in the Rockies starting rotation from 2004-2010, Francis returns to Colorado just days after being released by the Cincinnati Reds. Francis reportedly asked for his release and his request was granted.

Signed to a minor league deal in January, Francis made 12 starts for the Reds Triple-A affiliate in Louisville, putting up a 3.72 ERA and striking out 7.6 per nine in 77 1/3 innings. In his six seasons with the Rockies, the 31-year-old Francis went 55-50 with a 4.77 ERA, good for a perfectly average 100 ERA+.

The 6' 5" Canadian will help the Rockies fill the gaps in the rotation left by the release of Jamie Moyer and the recent injuries to Jhoulys Chacin and Juan Nicasio. Francis is expected to make his first major league start of the season at home on Saturday against the Angels.