Francoeur returns to action

Francoeur returns to action

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Jeff Francoeur didn't have any success during his return to the lineup. But then again, the only Brave who has had any sort of luck against the Tigers' Justin Verlander over the past two years is Chipper Jones.

Whereas Jones continued his success against Verlander in Thursday night's 3-2 win over the Tigers at Disney's Champion Stadium, the evening's better development might have been the fact that Francoeur returned to action and showed no lingering effects from the pitch that struck his lip on Sunday in a game against the Cardinals.

Four days after being hit by Todd Wellemeyer's offspeed pitch, Francoeur went hitless in three at-bats. He swung at the first pitch he saw to begin the second inning and grounded out.

In his other two at-bats, he struck out and grounded into a double play. But never was there any indication that he was hesitant while getting his first look at live pitching after the incident.

"He was the same Frenchy, no problem," manager Bobby Cox said.

As for Jones, he was up to his old tricks. He homered off Verlander to begin the fourth inning and began the sixth with a double off the right-center-field wall. That accounted for two of the three hits surrendered by the Tigers right-hander in his 5 1/3-inning effort.

When Verlander registered 11 strikeouts and beat the Braves on June 23 of last year, the only run he surrendered over seven innings, coincidentally, came courtesy of a fourth-inning leadoff homer by Jones.

Mark Bowman is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.