Is No. 7 putting on the pounds? Jeff Francouer, the strapping right fielder who has wowed fans since his arrival in a Braves uniform in 2005, looks to be adding pounds to his 6-foot-4-inch frame. The Braves list him at 220 pounds, but recently published photos show that he’s lost the chisled face and frame symbolic of the coverboy looks that graced the pages of most every sports magazine when he erupted onto the baseball scene a few years ago.
Francouer, who earlier this month turned 24, married his high-school sweetheart last November and set up house in a Gwinnett subdivision. He and his wife, Catie, were profiled today in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in a charming story about their new life together and how Frenchy is adjusting his bachelor ways to make room for his new wife. But in photos that accompanied the article, and a picture from their honeymoon featured in the AJC’s Peach Buzz last week, Frenchy looks to be enjoying the life of a married man a little too much.
His face is rounding and his frame is filling out, both in ways fans might not want to see from their homegrown stud just a few weeks before the start of Spring Training. While he picked up a Gold Glove award for his defensive prowress last season, his offensive stats were strong but not the breakout type hoped for in his second full season. Getting married and an 11-day honeymoon in Mexico probably didn’t bode too well for his off-season workouts. Heading into the season bloated and out of shape can’t mean good things for a Braves team looking to a return to post season for the first time in three years.
And it means gay fans might bump Frenchy from their list of hottest Braves. There’s always Mark Teixeira, the 27-year-old first baseman who also weighs in at 220 pounds but stands an inch shorter than Francouer. His considerable bulk last season made Francouer look all the more soft.
Teixeira recently signed a one-year, $12.5 million contract with the Braves to return for the 2008 campaign.
There’s also Javy Lopez, a fan favorite who was traded a few years ago but returns this spring to fight for a backup role to catcher Brian McCann. A profile on Lopez last month pointed out his new, athletic build. We’ll have to wait and see what he’s done physically to improve on his already attractive 6-foot-3-inch, 220-pound frame. Maybe it’s not too late for Javy to take Frenchy aisde and offer some workout tips.