The Braves announced they have designated third baseman Juan Francisco to open a roster spot for southpaw Alex Wood, tweets David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Francisco began the season in a third base platoon with Chris Johnson, and even started three of the last five games at the hot corner.
Francisco, 25, hit .237/.281/.420 in 320 plate appearances spanning 2012-13 for the Braves. They had acquired him in an April 2012 trade with the Reds, for reliever J.J. Hoover. Signed out of the Dominican Republic by the Reds in 2004, Francisco hit the prospect radar a few years later. Baseball America praised his arm and big raw power, questioning his aggressive approach at the plate. The Braves are talking multiple clubs about potential Francisco trades, notes Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, which was later confirmed by manager Fredi Gonzalez.
Wood, 22, was the Braves' second round pick last year. He'll be the fifth player from the 2012 draft to reach the Majors, along with pitchers Michael Wacha of the Cardinals (who debuts tonight), Kevin Gausman of the Orioles, Paco Rodriguez of the Dodgers, and Michael Roth of the Angels. Wood, ranked seventh among Braves prospects by Baseball America prior to the season, made ten strong starts at Double-A but will work out of the big club's bullpen on what Danny Knobler of CBS Sports calls the "Chris Sale plan." If Wood succeeds in the relief role, it may lessen the Braves' need for outside relief help in the wake of the loss of lefty relievers Eric O'Flaherty and Jonny Venters to Tommy John surgery. Before the season, BA wrote of Wood, "With a better breaking ball, he could become a solid No. 3 starter."