Mets Injury Updates: Mike Baxter and Frank Francisco Nearing Returns

By Matt Musico

As we saw a flurry of roster moves take place over the weekend, some of which included the promotions of Elvin Ramirez, Jeremy Hefner, and impending promotion of Matt Harvey, the Mets had some encouraging news for some of their rehabbing players. After some encouraging outings this weekend, it looks like both Mike Baxter and Frank Francisco took positive steps towards returning to the Mets roster.

Now at Double-A Binghamton, Baxter played a full game in the field for the first time since he injured his collarbone on June 1st. Prior

to that, the outfielder and pinch hitter extraordinaire was playing full games with Binghamton and Class-A St. Lucie, but only as a designated hitter. He’s been progressing nicely from his injury, first playing four games with St. Lucie and hit .267/.353/.467 in 15

at-bats, which included three doubles and four RBI. Now at the Double-A level, he’s played two games and accumulated nine at-bats posting a triple slash of .286/.333/.286. His rehab has been progressing a little slower than the Mets were anticipating, but they’re planning on giving him all the time he needs to get healthy and comfortable on the field. Once he’s ready to return, it looks as though Kirk Nieuwenhuis could be optioned back to Triple-A to make room for Baxter, as his playing time has diminished greatly over the last month or so.

Meanwhile, closer Frank Francisco threw a 40-pitch bullpen session yesterday at Citi Field. He reported no ill effects from his oblique injury and is scheduled to start a rehab session later this week, with an early August return date still in sight. With all the bullpen shuffling of late, promotions of Ramirez and Hefner and now the demotion of Miguel Batista, Francisco’s return will be important to the Mets, as they can insert him back into his ninth inning role and be able to use Bobby Parnell in other late game situations. Depending on how the Mets perform over the next few days, Sandy Alderson could be bringing in some outside bullpen help, but that remains to be seen.