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Franco promoted to Gwinnett, is option for Braves at first base

The Braves promoted Carlos Franco to Triple-A Gwinnett and will consider him as an option to replace injured first baseman Freddie Freeman in the lineup.

Braves general manager John Coppolella, responding to questions during a Twitter Q&A, said Franco was expected to join Gwinnett on Friday. Coppolella said the Braves will evaluate Franco and recently signed MLB veteran James Loney at Gwinnett as potential replacements for Freeman with the big-league club.

Freeman is expected to miss at least 10 weeks with a fractured left wrist he suffered when hit by a pitch Wednesday.

“I’d be lying if I said promotion of Carlos Franco wasn’t related to the (Freeman) injury, but he earned the opportunity (with) how he’s played,” Coppolella wrote during the Q&A.

Franco, 25, has yet to play in the big leagues. In 41 games at Double-A Mississippi this season Franco has hit .293 with a .358 on-base percentage, 11 home runs, 45 strikeouts and 14 walks. Over nine seasons in the minors (all with the Braves) Franco has hit .245 with a .330 OBP and .685 slugging percentage.

Entering Friday, Franco had played 279 1/3 innings at first base as a professional and 5,139 innings at third. He’s committed three errors in 282 chances at first (.989 fielding percentage) and 124 errors in 1,540 chances at third (.919).

Franco, listed at 6-foot-3 and 220 pounds, has hit 44 homers in 2,543 at-bats in the minors.

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