Rockies option Francis to clear room for Bettis

Rockies option Francis to clear room for Bettis

ATLANTA -- The Rockies optioned veteran left-hander Jeff Francis to Triple-A Colorado Springs on Thursday for the second time this season.

Francis was sent down to make room in the Major League roster for right-hander Chad Bettis, who started against the Braves in his Major League debut.

Early in the season, Francis (2-5, 6.63 ERA) struggled for 11 starts before being sent down in June. He was recalled Sunday and on Tuesday made a relief appearance, just the second of his career. He gave up two runs in 2 1/3 innings, but the runners scored when the pitcher behind him, Edgmer Escalona, gave up a three-run homer to the Braves' Freddie Freeman.

Francis has been with the Rockies for eight of his nine Major League seasons, and was a leader of the starting staff in 2007, when the team went to the World Series.

"I'm happy that we got to see Jeff in that role, a new role," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "He came in and saved our bullpen, did a nice job, for that being his first time out there at the Major League level. I have a feeling we'll be seeing Jeff in that role again."

Also, because Bettis was not on the 40-man Major League roster, the Rockies made room by designating right-handed pitcher Josh Sullivan for assignment. Sullivan had made four relief appearances at Triple-A Colorado Springs.

Thomas Harding is a reporter for Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, and follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.