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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Mets News: Francisco Still Hurt, Mets Name Bobby Parnell Closer

Frank Francisco told reporters Tuesday that he is still dealing with inflammation in his right elbow and has been temporarily shut down. The 33-year-old missed much of the final month of the 2012 season due to elbow trouble and had surgery in December to remove a bone spur in that right elbow. He finished the 2012 season with a career-worst 5.53 ERA.

Collins later went on WFAN and announced that Bobby Parnell, the team’s set-up man last season, will begin the season as the team’s closer.

"Right now, Frankie Francisco is not going to be able to throw for a while," Collins said in the radio interview. "(Today) I’m going to go to Bobby Parnell and tell him that he’s going to be the guy we’re going to gear up to pitch the ninth inning."

Francisco played catch last week when he visited Mets camp for the day, but when asked Tuesday to put an estimate on how his elbow is feeling, Francisco responded, "I’m at zero."

Collins said the training staff was prepared for the news.

"They thought it might happen," Collins said. "So we just want to quiet the swelling down before he starts playing catch. Frank told me last week, ‘I’ll be ready.’ (Pitching coach) Dan (Warthen) and I have kind of picked some dates of importance that we think are going to be important so that we know he’ll have the innings necessary to be ready for the season. If he meets those dates, then I think he’ll be on track. If he doesn’t, we’ll have to look in other directions."

Collins originally told reporters the alternatives were Parnell and Brandon Lyon, who has two seasons with 20-plus saves, before he went on WFAN with the news that Parnell will be his closer.

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