Brewers still evaluating Francisco's future
SAN FRANCISCO -- Two months after trading for his power bat, the Brewers remain open-minded about Juan Francisco's glove work at first base and whether he fits the team's plans for next season.
Francisco's run-scoring error on a potential double-play ball Monday night was his eighth error at first base, where he has played only 42 games and started 38. Before a trade sent him from Atlanta to Milwaukee on June 3, Francisco, a third baseman by trade, had never played first in the Major Leagues.
"I think it's just a guy who hasn't played there before," said Brewers first-base coach and infield instructor Garth Iorg. "He's got good hands, a good arm. At third base, you're used to having everything in front of you. At first, all of a sudden it's at your back. There is a [learning] curve to it."
He added: "It could work with time."
Francisco, 26, figures to be among several players in consideration for the Brewers' first-base job in 2014. If the Brewers let Corey Hart exit via free agency (he will miss all of this season after two knee surgeries), the in-house options other than Francisco include Mat Gamel, who has torn his ACL in each of the past two seasons, and prospect Hunter Morris, who hit his 22nd home run for Triple-A Nashville on Tuesday.
"[Francisco] has got some work to do, there's no question," manager Ron Roenicke said. "He has to be more consistent at the plate. When you hit a home run or a nice base hit, are you doing it with people in scoring position or are you doing it only when nobody's on base?
"The first-base part, he needs to catch balls. When there are plays that he should make, he needs to make the plays. We're not asking him to make super plays. That's going to get better the more comfortable he becomes."
At the plate, Francisco has appeared more comfortable. His home run Monday night was his 10th as a Brewer.
"That's why he keeps having people look at him and remain interested in him," Roenicke said. "If he ever does refine what he's doing and makes more contact, then you have something."