Well we can’t say it was fun while it lasted. After pitching in just two games out of the bullpen the Yankees have designated Jeff Francis for assignment. Outfielder Zoilo Almonte has been recalled from Triple-A to take his spot on the 25-man roster. For the Yankees bullpen this is a case of addition via subtraction as Francis was pretty much playing for the other team when he was on the mound. Francis had a nice debut with the team in which he earned the win in the extra inning marathon against the Texas Rangers, however, the left handed reliever surrendered what would turn out to be the killing blow against the Toronto Blue Jays on Saturday when he served up a three run homer to Dan Johnson. The ultimate fate of Francis may just be the Yankees handing him his walking papers. You can’t really succeed with a team when you’re the least effective lefty in a bullpen that includes Matt Thornton and David Huff.
As for Almonte the Yankees are hoping to that the youngster can add some pop in right field and allow Ichiro to play on limited time which is more ideal for the 40-year old. The 25-year old switch hitter should provide more power to the position that has lost it since the release of Alfonso Soriano. While the Yankees are still looking to acquire another outfield bat (Josh Willingham, Marlon Byrd, Alex Rios, etc.) Almonte is a safe option to hold down the fort until the Yankees reevaluate their options after Thursday’s Non-Waiver Trade Deadline. After placing Kelly Johnson on the disabled list the Bombers have been playing with a short bench and an extra bullpen arm so a move like this was expected. Yankees play the Rangers tonight as they continue to make a push for the playoffs and search for trade partners to bolster the roster.