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Giants give Francoeur rare start in center field

SAN FRANCISCO -- Jeff Francoeur did not stray into uncharted territory when Giants manager Bruce Bochy started him in center field against the Milwaukee Brewers.

Granted, Francoeur started just twice in that spot among the 1,220 Major League games he previously logged. But he played mostly center field -- 176 games out of 267 outfield appearances -- as a Minor Leaguer in the Atlanta Braves system. He also manned that position in high school and college.

Then Francoeur ascended to the Majors in 2005 and moved to right field.

"There was some guy there in center," Francoeur jokingly said, referring to Andruw Jones. All Jones did that year was win his eighth of 10 consecutive Gold Glove awards for fielding excellence and finish second in the National League Most Valuable Player Award balloting.

Francoeur received his pair of Major League starts in center last year with Kansas City on June 8-9 at Pittsburgh. He explained that the Royals shuffled their lineup extensively on those days due to the lack of a designated hitter for road Interleague games.

"It went fine," Francoeur said of his return to center. "It was like riding a bike, as far as I'm concerned."

The move likely is not permanent. Giants manager Bruce Bochy simply wants to rest Gregor Blanco, the team's primary center fielder, for two or three days.

Chris Haft is a reporter for
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