Francis LeBron Beltrán was born on November 29, 1979 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. He is a relief pitcher, currently in the Detroit Tigers’ organization.
Francis is 6’ 6”, weighs 255 pounds, and bats and throws right.
Minor LeaguesFrancis was signed by the Chicago Cubs as an undrafted free agent in 1996, and was assigned to the Arizona League Cubs, their rookie-level minor league affiliate.
He would spend three seasons there, compiling a record of 1–3, with an ERA of 3.99 in 35 appearances.
Halfway through the 1999 season, he was promoted to the Single-A Eugene Emeralds. He was then promoted to the Single-A Lansing Lugnuts, where he went 1–1 with a 9.86 ERA.
In 2001, Francis was promoted to the Single-A Daytona Cubs, where he went 6–9 with an ERA of 5.00. In November of that year, he was added to the Cubs’ 40-man roster.
In 2002, Francis was promoted to the AA West Tennessee Diamond Jaxx. On June 27, the Cubs called up Beltran to replace Jason Bere, who had gone on the disabled list with a contusion to his right knee.
Major LeaguesFrancis made his major league debut on June 28, 2002 in an interleague game against the crosstown rival Chicago White Sox. After appearing in two games, he was sent back to West Tennessee to make room for reliever Tom “Flash” Gordon.
In August, the Cubs recalled Francis as reliever Juan Cruz went on the disabled list. He ended up appearing in nine more games for the Cubs, with an overall ERA of 7.50.
Francis was invited to spring training in 2003, but started the year with the AAA Iowa Cubs. He would remain there for the entire season, going 6–2 with a 2.96 ERA – with occasional call ups to the majors. Indeed, he made 35 appearances for the Cubs in 2003, posting a 2–2 record with a 4.36 ERA. He struck out 40 batters in 35 innings, but also gave up eight home runs, including a record-breaking 503-foot shot by Richie Sexson in Bank One Ballpark on April 26, 2003.
In July 2003, Francis was traded to the Montreal Expos as part of a four-team deal which sent Nomar Garciaparra to the Cubs. The Expos optioned Francis to the AAA Edmonton Trappers.
Montreal Expos / Washington NationalsThe Expos recalled Francis to the majors in mid-August; he posted a 7.53 ERA over 11 appearances. It was Francis who pitched the final inning of the last game ever played by the Expos, an 8–1 loss to the New York Mets.
Francis remained with the Expos as they became the Washington Nationals, but sat out the entire 2005 season because of elbow surgery.
He missed much of the 2006 season as well, making a combined 10 appearances with the Gulf Coast Nationals and New Orleans Zephyrs, and was released at the end of the year.