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Francisco ready to compete for roster spot

TAMPA, Fla. -- Ben Francisco has joined the Yankees with hopes of grabbing a roster spot. At the very least, the well-traveled outfielder has a new set of team attire to add to his collection.

Francisco tried on his Yankees-issued garb for the first time on Tuesday, having requested his release from the Indians this week. New York is Francisco's fifth club since the beginning of 2012, a trek that has also included stops with the Blue Jays, Astros and Rays.

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"I was hoping to stay on one team this year, but obviously that didn't go so well yet," Francisco said. "Hopefully I'll be here for a while."

Francisco, 31, batted .234 with two home runs and 10 RBIs in 51 games last season, when he was traded twice and also spent time on the disabled list. Francisco is expected to make his Yankees spring debut on Wednesday against Phillies left-hander Cliff Lee.

Francisco said he had been deciding between the Yankees and Indians this past winter, ultimately choosing Cleveland because he thought he had a better chance of playing a contributing role.

The Indians' landscape changed when Michael Bourn signed a four-year, $48 million deal in February, and the Yankees now expect to be without Curtis Granderson until early May with a fractured right forearm.

Francisco will join a group that includes veterans Matt Diaz and Juan Rivera in competing to play some outfield and hit against left-handed pitching.

"That's what they've communicated to me, that there's an opportunity," Francisco said. "We felt like it was a better one here, so we asked to get out of Cleveland and they were nice enough to let me do that and come here and compete. I'm looking forward to going out there and playing and winning a job."

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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