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Ben Francisco Released by Indians, Signs with Yankees

Veteran outfielder joins his fifth team in the last 12-months as he continues to look for a spot on a major league roster


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Ben Francisco had no sooner packed his bags to leave Goodyear, Arizona after being asked to be released by the Cleveland Indians than he was headed on a plane to Florida to join the New York Yankees. Francisco, who spent time with three teams in both leagues last season, had originally signed a minor-league deal with the Indians this winter hoping to compete for the club’s fourth outfielder spot. He was thought to be a lock for the position heading into spring training, but at the eleventh hour all of that changed as the Tribe managed to sign free agent centerfielder Michael Bourne and effectively shut the door on Francisco’s chances of making the ball club. With the Tribe now carrying four full-time outfielders in Bourne, Nick Swisher, Drew Stubbs and Michael Brantley, Francisco saw the writing on the wall and asked to be released from the club this weekend. That is when the New York Yankees came calling as the club is in desperate need of an outfielder now that Curtis Granderson is expected to miss significant time with a broken arm.

So, Francisco headed to Florida where he signed a minor-league deal with the Yankees and will now likely break camp with the club as not only a bench player, but potentially as a starter in Granderson’s absence. Francisco had mulled an offer from the Yankees earlier in the offseason, but he chose to sign with Cleveland has he felt he had a better opportunity to earn a spot on their roster given their outfield situation heading into spring training.

At 31-years old, Francisco has been a journeyman player, breaking out with the Indians in 2007 and 2008 before being traded along with Cliff Lee to the Philadelphia Phillies during the 2009 season. After spending parts of the next two seasons playing with the Phillies, Francisco landed in Toronto prior to the 2012 campaign, but injuries and inconsistent play saw him bounce around the American and National Leagues last season as he struggled to find a spot on a roster playing in a total of 82 games for the Blue Jays, Astros and Rays.



By Robert Gonzalez
Cleveland Indians Correspondent