So four days ago the Braves take the long overdue step of demoting Jeff Francoeur to Double-A. Upon hearing that he and his .234/.287/.374 line were being sent to the minors, Francoeur handled it with grace and humility :
"After three years, after playing hurt, playing every day, going in every day whether I got a hit and never complaining, I just played because Bobby [Cox] kept putting me in the lineup," Francoeur said. "But I just felt like a little three-minute thing — 'Hey, you're going down' — I feel like after three years, I was owed a little more of an explanation. But that's Frank's deal and that's what I guess they decided to do.
"My question is, what if I had hit a home run or had two hits [Thursday night]? Does it delay it one day, until I was 0-for-4? I was left standing outside in the dark on that. You almost felt like they had made [their minds] up before the game. That's where I felt frustrated, where I felt a little betrayed."Francouer is far from the only reason the Braves are disappointing this season, but he's certainly a big part of it. Clearing him off the roster spared Braves fans from watching WonderBoy's horrendous at-bats, gave him a chance to clear his head and fix his attitude. It was, in short, the correct decision.
And today the Braves reversed it.
After Sunday's marathon victory over the Astros, Atlanta had to place Omar Infante, Manny Acosta and Jeff Bennett on the DL. Brent Lillibridge and Vladimir Nunez, whose big accomplishment was saving 20 games for the Miami Marlins in 2002, were called up to fill two spots. The third player recalled from the minor leagues?
Jeff Francoeur, Super Star.
A few questions come to mind: did Francoeur get a chance to unpack his duffel bag? Just how impressive were his 13 at-bats in Mississippi? When he hit the ball, did shards of angelic light fly from his bat and impale opposing fielders? Did he compel George Martin to write A Dance With Dragons?
Assuming none of that is true, assuming the Braves simply panicked after losing three players to injuries, or assuming that they made a conscious decision that Francoeur was a better option than, say, Brandon Jones, then the Braves have handled this situation as poorly as it was possible to handle it.