MINNEAPOLIS -- Julio Franco has hit 8 of his 173 career home runs against the Minnesota Twins.
Now it's time to even it out a little.
Franco and the Twins agreed Wednesday on a one-year, $1.5 million contract, allowing the 55-year-old slugger to return to the division he played in once or twice.
Franco had played in 7 games with the Fort Worth Cats (Ind) this year, though he returned to his home in the Dominican Republic after straining his knees. Then he got a phone call from Twins GM Terry Ryan.
Franco's deal includes about $750,000 in incentives.
Even though he'll be more of a bench player than the middle-of-the-lineup-force he's been for 23 seasons, Franco was eager to join one of his once-in-awhile rivals.
"They were really excited about me coming there, so to me it was a no-brainer," Franco said on a conference call with local reporters. "I've always enjoyed the way they play and how they go about their business. To be a part of that will be a lot of fun to go there and help them win."
Kendrys Morales is coming off a hot start with zero strikeouts through June 1, and the Twins are committed to Trevor Plouffe at third. Joe Mauer is entrenched at first base.
So Franco will be used primarily as a pinch-hitter and a part-time DH, when Morales needs a break or plays in the field. Manager Ron Gardenhire didn't rule out occasional starts at first for Franco, either.
"We play 'em all. Everybody's going to get at-bats," Gardenhire said.
The deal is pending a physical exam.