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Padres vs. Rockies preview: Jeff Francis returns to Colorado's rotation

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Jeff Francis is back. Will that give the Rockies a boost?

Justin Edmonds

The Colorado Rockies activated Jeff Francis from the 15-day disabled list today to start against the San Diego Padres tonight in place of Tyler Chatwood, who was injured in his last start in Cincinnati but should return for his next scheduled appearance. The Rockies designated Jon Garland for assignment to make room for Francis.

Francis' last start was his best of the season. Against the Cubs on May 14, Francis lasted six innings and allowed just a run on three hits and struck out seven. Unfortunately, he injured his groin running the bases and nearly missed a month.

Francis made one rehab start for Triple-A Colorado Springs, allowing three earned runs in four innings and striking out five.

The 32-year-old lefty has had his struggles this season, but it's worth noting that he's striking out more batters than he has in any year since his rookie season and his home run rate is likely to decrease at least a little bit.

On the mound for the Padres is journeyman left-hander Eric Stults. Stults pitched very well for the Padres after coming over from the Chicago White Sox a year ago and to some extent, has carried that success over to this year. Stults has exhibited good control, walking just two batters per nine innings while striking out six and half. He sports an ERA of 3.74 despite having a losing record.

Stults is a one-time Rockie, appearing in six games for Colorado in 2011. He was 0-0 with a 6.00 ERA.

First pitch at 5:15 p.m. MT, and the contest is the regional game for FOX Saturday Night Baseball.