Chiefs' Norwood Out with Ankle Sprain

PEORIA, IL— On the eve of the season opener, the Peoria Chiefs have announced roster moves that will fill out the roster to 25 players. Ryan Norwood suffered a severe left ankle sprain in Wednesday's 11-0 Chiefs win against Bradley University.

The first baseman is on crutches and is expected to miss 6-8 weeks. He suffered the injury while sliding to avoid a collision at second base while breaking up a double play. The Richmond, VA native was expected to start at first and bat cleanup for the Chiefs in 2005. He batted .296 with 9 homers and 53 RBI in 73 games last year in Boise.

Norwood will be replaced on the roster by infielder Alfredo Francisco. Francisco spent most of 2004 in Boise batting .187 with four homers and 27 RBI in 61 games. He also played 24 games for Chiefs manager Julio Garcia at Lansing. In 2003, Francisco started in Mesa for 41 games where he batted .263 with 19 RBI before earning a promotion to Boise for the final 14 games. The Dominican native signed with the Cubs as a non-drafted free agent in 2002.

Also joining the Chiefs is outfielder Jasha Balcom. The left-handed hitter spent all of 2004 on the Northwest League Champion Boise Hawks where he batted .278 with 11 stolen bases and 37 runs scored in 60 games. The Dublin, GA native started his college career at the College of Charleston before transferring to the University of Georgia. He was drafted by the Cubs in the 33rd round in 2003 and batted .329 in 24 games in Mesa in 2003.

Both players are expected to join the Chiefs in Appleton, Wisconsin for the season opener against the Timber Rattlers Thursday night.

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