UPDATE (7/25/12): Terry Collins confirmed that Frank Francisco received a cortisone shot in his knee yesterday, and is expected to start a rehab assignment today at Double-A Binghamton.
Frank Francisco threw a 40 pitch bullpen at Citi Field over the weekend and didn’t report any ill effects from his injured oblique. Instead of starting a rehab assignment this Friday, the Mets were planning on sending their closer to Single-A Brooklyn today to start getting some game action. Well, not so fast. He recently reported some right knee discomfort, shutting him down until at least tomorrow.
See? I had a feeling that this strained oblique injury would take longer than the required two weeks he needed to be on the disabled list. It’s one of the trickiest injuries for baseball players to return from because the amount of rest needed to recover is relatively unknown and no ballplayer truly knows how much they use their obliques during a game until they injure it.
However, this is now the second time that Francisco has been scratched from starting a rehab assignment to try and make his way back to the Mets bullpen. He was supposed to pitch for Single-A St. Lucie in Florida last week, but he aggravated his injury, so that plan got thrown out the window, and now this knee discomfort foils the new plans the organization drew up for their $12 million closer. I would not be surprised if his troublesome knee (which he’s had enough problems to begin with) was injured compensating his motion to avoid hurting his oblique again.
This news comes at a bad time, as the Mets bullpen ERA after the All-Star break continues to stay above 6.50. The timetable for Francisco’s return is even more foggy with this latest setback, with nothing being known for sure until he gets re-evaluated tomorrow. The latest struggles for the ‘pen have resulted in some roster moves, as Elvin Ramirez is back up with the Mets, as is Manny Acosta, while Pedro Beato finds himself back in Triple-A after seven appearances for the Amazins.
Bobby Parnell has been pitching better of late in place of Francisco, but Terry Collins sure could use Frankie back in the ‘pen so he can use Parnell in other late game situations….maybe in extra innings? Even when the bullpen is able to hold the opposition for multiple innings, there aren’t enough solid relievers available to keep their bats silent. Although, when they dropped consecutive extra-inning games against the Dodgers and Nationals, respectively, the offense had plenty of opportunities to get a big hit, but couldn’t do so. Either way, every time the bullpen coughs up a lead or blows a tie ballgame, it makes everyone in the ballpark grown, as I heard last night while watching Beato give up lasers through the rain.
So, hopefully this setback isn’t a serious one for Francisco and he can make his way back to the Mets sooner rather than later, giving Collins some more options throughout the course of a game.