With opening day rapidly approaching, the New York Mets await the return of closer Frank Francisco from inflammation following off-season surgery to remove above spur form his right elbow.
The 33-year-old threw 31 pitches on Saturday and spoke about the state of his much-speculated throwing arm, while Bobby Parnell will enter opening day as starter if Francisco can not go.
“It’s not like sharp pain, but I feel like it’s not 100%,” Francisco told the New York Daily News. “It only happens when I try to push more than what I have (done) before. Last time I was throwing 70%, maybe. I feel soreness. Today, I went more than 70%, but it feels the same. I feel like I am improving.”
Francisco signed a two-year, $12 million deal with the team prior the 2012 season before claiming the closer soon after. He recorded 23 saves for the season but spent a significant time on the disabled list with an oblique injury. Francisco also underwent Tommy John surgery in 2005.
In the meantime, it seems the Mets will look to Parnell, according to ESPN’s Adam Rubin.
“Terry Collins called Bobby Parnell last night to tell him he’d be the closer if Frank Francisco wasn’t ready for the season,” Rubin revealed about the Mets’ closer situation on Twitter.
Parnell only managed to complete saves in seven of 12 opportunities while filling in for Francisco last season, but did make good on his final five opportunities down the stretch in 2012.