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Francisco called up, Cleto designated for assignment

Francisco called up, Cleto designated for assignment play video for Francisco called up, Cleto designated for assignment

CHICAGO -- Prior to Saturday's contest with the D-backs, the White Sox purchased the contract of right-handed reliever Frank Francisco from Triple-A Charlotte and designated right-handed pitcher Maikel Cleto for assignment.

Francisco, 34, did not allow an earned run over eight innings with the Knights, posting one save and 12 strikeouts in six relief appearances. He signed as a Minor League free agent on April 14, marking his second stint with the White Sox. That first stint started on July 31, 2002, via a trade with the Red Sox and ended on July 1, 2003, as part of the Carl Everett trade with Texas.

"I knew from the past this is a good organization," said Francisco, who limited opponents to a .154 average with Charlotte in a run he compared to Spring Training. "I think it's the perfect opportunity for me."

In nine Major League seasons with Texas, Toronto and the Mets, Francisco produced a 3.93 ERA, 73 saves, 67 holds and 421 strikeouts over 382 2/3 innings. The White Sox also hope to somehow keep Cleto, who is out of options.

Cleto's last outing came Thursday against the Cubs, when he allowed Mike Olt's grand slam among the five runs he yielded over two innings. Cleto features a 98-mph fastball in his arsenal, but walked 15 and allowed 12 hits in 14 innings, while striking out 10.

"He came a long way," said Saturday's White Sox interim manager and bench coach Mark Parent. "They just wanted to continue it and they had the timeframe on Francisco down there and he's serving it up good in their mind. He's a valuable piece for us and has more experience so they thought it was better to bring him and hopefully slip somebody through waivers and keep him.

"We'd like to keep him in our organization. The guy throws 98. And he throws enough strikes. Maybe he just needs to get back to staying with the 98 more than the other stuff."

Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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