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Francis plans appeal of suspension

Francis plans appeal of suspension

TUCSON, Ariz. -- Rockies left-handed pitcher Jeff Francis said he was simply being a good teammate when he pitched at a batter on Tuesday and earned a five-game suspension from Major League Baseball.

Francis, who threw a pitch behind the Padres' Kevin Kouzmanoff after both teams had been warned during the game, plans to appeal. The appeals process should allow him to make his first start of the season. Five games is normal for a starting pitcher, since he generally pitches once in that period.

Manager Clint Hurdle, also ejected from the game and suspended, is scheduled to miss the April 3 home game against the Diamondbacks.

Earlier in the game in question, the Padres' Doug Brocail had hit Matt Holliday. Brocail also had hit Troy Tulowitzki in a previous game. Brocail apologized for both incidents, but that didn't absolve Francis from his time-honored baseball responsibility to defend teammates.

"I don't hit people, and I'm not out to hurt anybody, but I stick up for my teammates," Francis said. "I just play the game. It's an ugly part of the game when it comes to that."

Francis had never been ejected from a game before Tuesday. He was clearly bothered after the incident and didn't discuss it with the media until Saturday, a day after Bob Watson, MLB vice president of on-field operations, announced the punishments.

But Francis said he has continued to prepare for the season, and is not particularly stressed by the strife.

"I get out on the field and it's a good way to forget about those things," Francis said. "You're with your teammates and they help you."

Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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