After sitting out four straight games, a slumping Jeff Francoeur is expected to return to the lineup on Friday. Manager Ned Yost gave Francoeur some time off after going 1-for-4 on Saturday against the Mariners. That was his first hit in three games, as the 28-year-old right fielder finished July with a .178 average for the month. "It gives you an opportunity to spend some time in the cage and work on some areas you need to work on," Yost said. "Plus it kind of cleanses your mind a little bit, because it gets you to take a step back and relax a little bit if you allow yourself to do it." Yost said right field was still Francoeur's despite his struggles. However, Yost also said baseball is about production, and if Francoeur continues to not produce, it's possible he could look at going to a platoon situation. "I don't think we're there yet, but [Francoeur's] a guy that we counted on a lot for production this year," Yost said. "I think this little bit of a break is going to help him get back to where he was. It's not been from lack of trying, but the bottom line is -- for all of us -- is that we step on the field and we produce." Rangers: Harrison looks to snap rare losing streak
Few players in baseball likely are happier to be done with July than starting pitcher Matt Harrison. In four starts last month, Harrison was 1-3 with a 3.30 ERA. He lost back-to-back starts for the first time since last June while allowing multiple home runs in a game for the second time this year in a 5-2 loss on Saturday. All that just one month removed from going 5-0 with a 1.29 ERA on the way to being named American League Pitcher of the Month in June. Harrison will look to regain some of that May magic on Friday, when he takes on the Royals. It will be his fifth start against Kansas City, and he enters the game with a 2-1 record and a 4.70 ERA in five total appearances against the Royals. Worth noting
Royals designated hitter Billy Butler enters Friday batting 7-for-10 with a double, a home run and three RBIs against Harrison. The Royals rank fifth in the Majors in batting average at home (.282), just behind the Rangers in fourth (.283). Meanwhile, Texas heads into Friday with the best road batting average (.270) in baseball.