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Francisco hits into contention for first-base gig

Francisco hits into contention for first-base gig

Francisco hits into contention for first-base gig

MILWAUKEE -- According to Brewers manager Ron Roenicke, Juan Francisco has hit his way into contention for the 2014 first-base job in Milwaukee.

Francisco, who was acquired from the Braves in early June, stumbled to a 1-for-23 start with the Brewers. Since June 14, though, he has hit .329 (26-for-79) with seven home runs and 14 RBIs in 26 games.

"I think definitely with the power he's shown, and a little more discipline lately, that he's going to get a big opportunity, no question," Roenicke said.

Francisco joined the Brewers primarily as a third baseman, but has played mostly first base with the ineffectiveness of Yuniesky Betancourt and Corey Hart out for the year. Francisco has made four errors in four games at third base with the Brewers, so Roenicke says he will keep the 6-foot-2, 240-pound slugger as mainly a first baseman for the remainder of the season.

"We'll play him a lot [at first base] until he shows he can't do the job," Roenicke said. "It's hard in the season to put guys at different places and we've had to do that this year. I think that's a lot of the reason why, defensively, we haven't been as good. He's been OK [at first base]. He's still getting comfortable with it, but he's done a nice job."

The Brewers have top prospect Hunter Morris playing first base at Triple-A Nashville this season, but Francisco has made it interesting.

"We like what he's doing, and I really like the discipline part, because the first few days he was trying to show us something and he was swinging at everything," Roenicke said. "Now, he's getting to the point where pitchers have to throw him strikes, and he's really dangerous when they throw him strikes."

Kevin Massoth is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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