Blue Jays manager John Farrell gave left-handed hitters Colby Rasmus and Adam Lind their first day off of the season, as Toronto faced southpaw Jon Lester.
"We wanted to get right-handers in there against Lester," Farrell said. "[It's] a chance to get Lind a day [off], for no physical reasons -- just day game after a night game -- and to get another right-handed bat in the lineup."
Francisco, who was the designated hitter, was penciled in as the No. 5 hitter behind Edwin Encarnacion, who shifted over to first base.
Farrell chose to stack the middle of the lineup with three right-handed hitters following slugger Jose Bautista, who batted out of his customary No. 3 spot.
Entering Wednesday, Francisco, 30, had logged just one at-bat this year after playing 100-plus games in three of the past four seasons as a member of the Phillies and Indians. He hit .244 with six homers and 34 RBIs with Philadelphia in 2011.
"Just stay ready, put your work in behind the scenes in the weight room and the batting cage and try to keep your timing down, be ready to go," Francisco said about keeping himself prepared. "I'm excited. It's a big series, and I'm gonna be ready to play today."
Rajai Davis took over for Rasmus in center field and hit ninth.