Frank Francisco threw live BP today, elbow still store

Frank Francisco polaroidAccording to Mike Puma of the New York Post, Frank Francisco expects to throw live batting practice soon.

If all goes well, Francisco expects to appear in a minor league game this week.

However, Puma says it remains unlikely Francisco breaks camp with the team next Saturday, as he is likely to open the season on the disabled list.

Update – 12:05 pm: Francisco threw live batting practice today, throwing 25 pitches and using his entire repertoire (Castillo, Star Ledger).

Update – 11:55 am: Francisco is still dealing with elbow soreness, and so he still needs a few more weeks to get ready (Carig, Newsday).

Francisco had surgery to remove bone chips from his elbow in December. He had been shutdown early in camp after experiencing discomfort in his elbow.

Francisco went 1-3 with a 5.53 ERA in 48 relief appearances in 2012, having allowed 26 earned runs, 47 hits, 21 walks with 47 strikeouts in 42 1/3 innings in 2012 – he was shutdown after September 16 after being diagnosed with right elbow soreness.

Provided Francisco doesn’t appear in a Major League game this week, the Mets can backdate his stint on the disabled list for ten days, meaning he might only have to miss the first five days of the season.

Michael Baron, Contributor

Assuming Francisco returns relatively soon, I don’t think he will necessarily find himself as the team’s closer. Terry Collins, Dan Warthen and Sandy Alderson have said that if Bobby Parnell is successful as the closer, he won’t relinquish the responsibility when Francisco is ready. I still think Parnell will have to earn his keep, but if it isn’t broken, the Mets aren’t going to fix it, just because Francisco was signed to be the team’s closer at a high price.

The question is – at least at the beginning – where does Francisco fit in the bullpen mix? Also, who becomes the casualty in the bullpen when Francisco comes back? Those aren’t easy questions to answer, especially if the bullpen is performing well in Francisco’s absence…