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Braves make tough decision and designate Francisco

ATLANTA -- When the Braves went back to a seven-man bullpen on Thursday, they were forced to make the tough roster decision that they had been able to delay while using a six-man 'pen over the previous two weeks.

To make room for the arrival of highly regarded pitching prospect Alex Wood, the Braves designated third baseman Juan Francisco for assignment. The Braves now have 10 days to either trade, release or outright Francisco to the Minors.

Early indications are that the Braves will be able to trade the left-handed slugger within the next few days.

"We've got discussions going with a number of different clubs," general manager Frank Wren said. "I think we'll be able to trade him and get something back. I think it's best for us, and for Juan, that he'll get an opportunity to go to the big leagues with somebody else."

When the Braves acquired Francisco from the Reds just before the start of the 2012 season, they were hoping to benefit from his tremendous power potential and help him prove more consistent than he was in the past.

Although there were some flashes of promise, Francisco ended up hitting .237 with 14 home runs and a .701 OPS in the 300 at-bats he compiled for Atlanta.

Francisco hit .316 with four home runs and 18 strikeouts in his first 57 at-bats this season but has batted .157 with two extra-base hits and 25 strikeouts in the 51 at-bats that followed.

"The depth of our team has always been our strength," Wren said. "Looking at the moves we could potentially make that would keep our depth and keep our flexibility for [manager] Fredi [Gonzalez], we felt this was the move we could most afford to make."

Mark Bowman is a reporter for Eric Single is an associate reporter for
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