Left-hander Jeff Francis will be the Opening Day starter when the Colorado Rockies begin defending their National League pennant at St. Louis on March 31st.
Manager Clint Hurdle broke from tradition Monday and made the announcement much earlier than usual.
Hurdle says Francis earned the opportunity by going 17-9 with a 4.22 ERA last year.
Francis says he was surprised when Hurdle pulled him aside during Monday's workout to tell him the news.
He says it's an honor, adding that he's proud to be a part of the team.
Francis is 47-34 with a 4.68 ERA in four major league seasons. He went 2-1 in the playoffs last year.
He will start the Rockies' spring training opener against the Chicago White Sox on Wednesday.
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