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Francis' locker cleared out before game

TORONTO -- Quietly, the Rockies cleared out the locker of left-hander Jeff Francis on Wednesday.

Manager Walt Weiss did not announce that he has been bumped from the team's active roster for veteran right-hander Roy Oswalt, who will make his Rockies debut on Thursday in Washington. Weiss said he will announce the corresponding move before Thursday's game.

But the locker was clear and Francis (2-5, 6.58 ERA in 11 starts) was not part of the Rockies' pregame preparation.

The next move is still uncertain.

According to a source familiar with the situation, the Rockies would like to option Francis to the Minors. With more than seven years' service time in the Majors, Francis would have to agree to the move.

Although Francis, 32, has struggled this season, the Rockies still have a need for him. Beyond the five pitchers still in the rotation, there is not much in terms of starting depth.

Left-hander Drew Pomeranz is coming off a dominating effort in his last start at Triple-A Colorado Springs, but before then had a string of starts where he was dazzling for four or five innings then lost it. Veteran Aaron Cook and prospect lefty Christian Friedrich are on the Triple-A disabled list. Chris Volstad, who has been with the Rockies twice, and on Tuesday was strong in his first start since going back to Triple-A, is seen as a multi-inning reliever more than a starter.

Francis, who has pitched two stints for the Rockies from 2004-10 and 2012-13 -- with a stop with the Royals in between -- gave up eight runs in six innings on Tuesday in a loss to the Blue Jays.

Thomas Harding is a reporter for Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, and follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb.
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