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NYY@COL: Weiss talks about Francis' start vs. Yankees

Unexpected cold weather in Colorado and throughout the country thus far this season has made it nearly impossible for Rockies starter Jeff Francis to get into any sort of routine.

Two straight outings for the left-hander on April 16 and April 23 were doubleheaders after his turn to pitch was snowed out. In his last start, Francis gave up two runs on four hits in four innings against the Yankees before the game was delayed by rain and he couldn't return in the loss.

Even with the unusual conditions, Francis (1-3, 6.90 ERA) knows the weather will get better as the season progresses.

"You know it's going to happen as the summer goes on. The weather is going to get better," Francis said. "You can't change the weather. There are a lot of things in this game we can't control. You have to let go of certain things."

Francis can count on summer-like weather for Tuesday's game against the Cubs at Wrigley Field, where temperatures are expected to be in the 70s.

He'll be up against Chicago right-hander Carlos Villanueva, who will try and help the team to its fourth consecutive victory. After winning their last two games against the Nationals, beating Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez, the Cubs won their opener against the Rockies, 9-1.

"More importantly than doing it against two of the best pitchers in the game, it's more important to win those kind of games," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said before leaving Washington, where the Cubs capitalized on Nationals errors. "Those are the kind of games we've lost. To find a way to hang around and find a way to win those games is the important thing."

Villanueva notched his fifth quality start in his last outing against the Cardinals, allowing three runs on seven hits in 6 2/3 innings of work, taking a no-decision after St. Louis rallied for the win.

It marked the fifth outing this season where the right-hander left with the lead, but he has only one win to show for it.

"[Villanueva] did a nice job and got out of some jams and made the pitches when he had to," Sveum said. "He got the outs when he had to."

Rockies: Fowler gets the night off
• Slumping center fielder Dexter Fowler got the night off for Monday's opener against the Cubs.

Although Fowler's slump coincides with his leaving a May 3 game with right hip flexor soreness, manager Walt Weiss said he does not believe the injury is related to the 2-for-26 slide that Fowler is in.

"For me, I just felt like it was a good day to give Dex a little break," Weiss said. "You try to have a feel for those things with your players and watch them closely. This was one of those days it would be good for him to have a day off and get back at it tomorrow."

Cubs: Rizzo agrees to contract extension
• First baseman Anthony Rizzo agreed to a seven-year, $41 million contract extension with the Cubs that includes two club options and escalators that could increase the total value of the contract to $73 million.

"This day has come so fast," Rizzo said before going 1-for-5 with a run in Monday's win. "Looking back on it, when I was a young kid dreaming of this day, it's a surreal moment."

Talks began with 10 days remaining in Spring Training, but the two sides were unable to reach a deal at that time. Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer said negotiations resumed about 10 days ago, and the details were completed last Wednesday.

"It's nice to have that security and nice to be able to go out and play," Rizzo said. "I knew for a while this was getting done, and the last couple days have been so nice to play baseball. I feel like I'm playing Little League again. It's all about winning now, there's nothing else in the way. It's all about the team and nothing else."

Worth Noting
• Matt Garza's next Minor League rehab outing will be Thursday for Triple-A Iowa. After that, the Cubs will make a decision on whether the right-hander is ready to return from the disabled list.

• Charlie Blackmon, promoted when Michael Cuddyer went to the disabled list with a neck injury Sunday, made his second straight start in left field for the Rockies on Monday after going 2-for-4 with a two-run homer in Sunday's 8-2 victory against the Cardinals. He went 0-for-3 in Monday's game. Comments