SPORTS

Weirdest Pan Am story of the day: Canada's closer starts baseball final

07/19/2015 07:11 EDT | Updated 07/19/2016 05:59 EDT
Team Canada manager Ernie Whitt gave closer Jeff Francis the start in Sunday's men's baseball gold-medal final vs. the United States at the Pan Am Games.

Heading into the final, Francis had pitched two innings of scoreless baseball in the closer role.

The 34-year-old left-hander from North Delta, B.C, started his major league career as a starter for the Colorado Rockies in 2004.

He had a career year in 2007, posting 17 regular-season wins as the Rockies made it all the way to the Word Series, where they lost to Boston. Along the way, Francis became the first Canadian starter to win a post-season game and only the second Canadian to start in the World Series.

After missing the entire 2009 season due to injury, Francis struggled as a starter and became a reliever during the 2013 season.

He currently plays in the Blue Jays' farm system, where he works out of the bullpen, but has also made seven starts for the Triple-A Buffalo Bisons.

Francis has played for six different big-league teams during his career, including the New York Yankees, Cincinnati Reds, Oakland A's and Kansas City Royals, along with the Rockies and Blue Jays.

Internationally, Francis has played for Canada once before. He was a starter on the 2006 World Baseball Classic team that finished ninth and did not advance out of the second round.

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