KISSIMMEE, Fla. (AP) -Atlanta Braves outfielder Jeff Francoeur, hit in the face by a pitch over the weekend, hopes to play Thursday night against the Detroit Tigers.
There was only slight swelling on Francoeur's lip Wednesday. The Braves outfielder suffered cuts inside his lower lip when he was hit by a pitch thrown by Cardinals pitcher Todd Wellemeyer on Sunday.
``The outside feels fine, but it's still a little rough on the inside,'' Francoeur said before a workout for players not scheduled to participate in Wednesday night's game against the Houston Astros.
Francoeur said he has been gargling with salt water to help the lacerations heal. He did not have stitches.
He is batting .314 in 35 spring at-bats with one home run and eight RBIs. He said he hopes the time he has missed won't derail his momentum for the regular season.
``I hope not. That's why I want to get back in there and get going as soon as possible,'' he said.
Francoeur could only smile when pitcher Tim Hudson picked on him before the workout.
``I can't believe it missed your nose,'' Hudson said.
Francoeur did not lose consciousness but was down for a few minutes when hit by Wellemeyer's pitch.
Francoeur's doctor said he was fortunate to avoid serious injury.
``I said I don't feel lucky; I just got hit in the face for the second time in four years,'' Francoeur said before adding ``But I am lucky.''
Francoeur broke a bone around his right eye in 2004, when he played for Class A Myrtle Beach.
Francoeur is entering his third full season as the Braves' right fielder. He hit .293 with 19 homers and 105 RBIs in 2007.

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