|(2/24/15) Phillies outfielder Jeff Francoeur, who signed a minor-league deal with an invitation to spring training this offseason, is looking forward to looking with Charlie Manuel, the team's senior adviser to the general manager, MLB.com reports.
"We're going to work one on one, and that's what I've been looking forward to all offseason," Francoeur said of Manuel. "When they told me he'd be here the whole time and I'd have the opportunity to work with him, it was a no-brainer for me. I've always respected him. I'm looking forward to working with him big-time."
Francoeur nearly had a chance to work with Manuel four years ago, when he was a free agent and the Phillies, with Manuel as manager, were interested. The outfielder instead chose to sign with the Royals.
"I've talked to Jim Thome, Jayson Werth, and they swear by Charlie. He knows so much about hitting. To be honest with you, I felt like if I could get here and get a chance to work with him and do what I can, I've still got a lot of good years ahead of me. I feel that way. I'm getting smarter about my body and different things."
Francoeur faces an uphill battle to make the Phillies roster, with Darin Ruf, Ben Revere and Domonic Brown listed as the projected starters and Grady Sizemore sitting in the primary reserve role, but he has a fan in the former Phillies manager.
"He's got talent," Manuel said of Francoeur. "I was kind of surprised when I talked to him. He knows hitting. He knows who he is now. When he was young, his adrenaline would get going and he'd overswing a lot. He's definitely got a chance to be a good hitter. I've always liked the way he hit. Hopefully, we can get him back to where he was a few years ago. I used to always talk to him. He's that kind of player. He has a tremendous personality. He smiles. He's upbeat. He brings energy. If we can get him to where he was a couple years ago, then he's still got a chance to be a good player. That's all I can tell you."
Francoeur went just 2 for 24 at the major-league level last year, spending most of his time with Triple-A El Paso and hitting .289/.320/.450 with 15 home runs, 69 RBI and 11 stolen bases in 456 at-bats.