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Message not received for slumping Francoeur
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Do you ever have trouble with your cable television? Have you ever lost a signal while talking to someone on the phone? Ever had problems logging onto the Internet?

A mixed signal within the provider is usually the culprit. It's almost like a pro baseball team unsure of how to help its young star deal with a horrendous slump.

Sound familiar?

Sending Jeff Francoeur down to the Double-A Mississippi Braves on the Fourth of July for three games still makes absolutely no sense to me at all.

What it does tell me is that the Braves aren't sure, either.

Prior to being sent down, Francoeur was hitting .234 and stuck in the worst slump of his career. In addition, in his last 42 at-bats he had just four singles, with a .198 in RBI situations. Heck, for the entire month of June he hit .206.

It has been a far cry from last season, when "Frenchy" batted .293 with 19 home runs and 105 RBIs, winning a Gold Glove in right field.

On July 7 - just three days after his brief stint in Pearl, Miss. - Francoeur was recalled based on several injuries the Braves incurred over the holiday weekend.

Three players were placed on the disabled list - Jeff Bennett, Manny Acosta and Omar Infante; however, that doesn't justify reinstating Francoeur.

Overall, Francoeur was 7-for-13 (.548) with two RBIs in three games at Mississippi. (Four of those hits came in his final game, which also prompted the Braves to recall him on an encouraging note.)

Braves general manager Frank Wren said that it "was Jeff's performance (in Mississippi) that made this happen."

Really? After three games in Double-A ball, facing mediocre pitching, Francoeur magically rediscovered his swing?

The idea was to meet up with Mississippi Braves manager Phillip Wellman, who was a key mentor to Francoeur in his earlier days. (And yes, Wellman is the same person who gained national attention with his Vietnam-like antics last year in an outburst against the umpires during a game.)

Upon returning to Atlanta, Francoeur is 5-for-21 (.238) with one home run, three RBIs and two runs, including two strikeouts and no walks.

Basically, back to where he was earlier when he was batting .234.

And No. 7 has had plenty of time to think about it due to the four-day break this week, which is the last thing he needs to do.

Why not give someone else a chance while allowing Francoeur more time to reevaluate his situation? Players such as Carl Loadenthal, who was hitting .323 in 29 games entering Monday, comes to mind. Even Brandon Jones or Josh Anderson could use another shot.

Regarding Braves fans booing Francoeur the night before he was sent down is bush league. After going 0-for-4 prior to receiving the bad news, he was booed mercilessly by the home crowd.

Yet these will be the same "fans" cheering for him once he returns to the player many have grown to love.

It's not like this is a seasoned veteran with millions of dollars. Francoeur, a third-year player, is making $460,000 this season. Granted, that's still a lot of bread, but it's nothing compared to Boston's Jason Varitek, who despite making the All-Star team is hitting .219 with seven home runs and 27 RBIs.

What message are the Braves trying to send? Obviously, we don't know the whole story; we don't know what's been going on behind closed doors. But do they honestly think that three days in the minors is going to solve everything?

It's almost like a child getting away with something bad over and over again, yet after being scolded each time he is immediately told everything is fine, let's get some ice cream.

Even Francoeur was quoted as saying "after three years (in the majors), I was owed a little more of an explanation."

So far, I haven't heard one.

Have you?