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Francisco rests after eight strikeouts in two games

Francisco rests after eight strikeouts in two games

Francisco rests after eight strikeouts in two games play video for Francisco rests after eight strikeouts in two games

MILWAUKEE -- Sean Halton started at first base for the Brewers on Tuesday, giving slugging Juan Francisco a break amid a serious strikeout binge.

Francisco went 0-for-4 with four strikeouts Sunday against the Reds and Monday against the Cardinals, making him the third player this season to earn a so-called "golden sombrero" in consecutive games. Oakland's Seth Smith whiffed four times in consecutive games on May 1 and 3, and Detroit's Prince Fielder followed a four-strikeout game with a five-strikeout game (the rare "platinum sombrero") on April 16-17.

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"I talked to him earlier, and he's fine," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said of Francisco. "It gets to you after a while, and I think it got to him the last couple of days. If I think he just needs one day, I'll get him back in there [Wednesday], and I'll try to look at matchups to see if I can help him out that way."

The Brewers have been assessing in recent weeks whether Francisco can play first base on a regular basis in the Majors. The Brewers have a big hole there, with Corey Hart due for free agency after missing all of 2013 with knee injuries, and Mat Gamel enduring a second straight season lost to a torn ACL.

Francisco's power has been encouraging (13 home runs and a .500 slugging percentage in his first 188 Brewers at-bats), but like many power hitters, he struggles with strikeouts. He struck out 117 times in 326 plate appearances with the Braves and Brewers entering Tuesday, the second-highest strikeout rate (35.7 percent) among Major Leaguers with at least 200 at-bats. The Astros' Chris Carter led that category with strikeouts in 36.8 percent of his plate appearances.

Still, this week's binge came as a surprise to Roenicke.

"He had been doing a really good job," Roenicke said. "He was having some good at-bats, he was walking a couple of times, and then he has those two days. Those are hard."

Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brew Beat, and follow him on Twitter at @AdamMcCalvy. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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