With side issue remaining, Frank saves day

SAN DIEGO -- Terry Collins told reporters pregame that he wanted to get Frank Francisco in Saturday’s game regardless of the situation. After all, the closer had not worked since Wednesday with Double-A Binghamton. And the Mets have an off-day Monday, so Francisco would be asked to pitch no more than two straight days anyway.

Frank Francisco

Frank Francisco

#48 RP
New York Mets

2012 STATS

  • GM32
  • W1

  • L3

  • BB14

  • K31

  • ERA4.85

By the time the ninth inning had rolled around Saturday, however, Collins had changed his opinion. He inserted Bobby Parnell with a five-run lead, to avoid unnecessary Francisco usage since the closer’s right side remains an issue.

Ultimately, Francisco entered anyway and notched his 19th save as the Mets beat the Padres, 6-2. Working in a major league game for the first time since June 22 against the Yankees (the day of the infamous “chicken” hullabaloo), Francisco required only two pitches to coax a game-ending double play. He had inherited two baserunners from Parnell with one out.

Francisco spent six weeks on the DL with a left oblique strain, but his right lat muscle is now an issue. It tends to stiffen after appearances, potentially leaving him unavailable for duty on multiple consecutive days.

“Because of the lat situation, I didn’t want to just put him in if it didn’t mean something,” Collins said. “I don’t need to aggravate it any more than it’s already been aggravated.”

Said Francisco: “It’s like more after I pitch, and the next day I feel soreness. The problem is the recovery sometimes.”

The closer added dryly, alluding to his two-pitch save: “I think tomorrow is going to be a great day, because I threw a lot of pitches.”