Mets aim to avoid flareups with Francisco's knee

Mets aim to avoid flareups with Francisco's knee

NEW YORK -- Given closer Frank Francisco's bout of left knee inflammation during the final week of Spring Training and the cortisone injection he subsequently received, there was uncertainty as to whether Francisco would break camp with the Mets. All he has done instead is finish each of the team's first three games, becoming only the third closer in history to save all three games of a season-opening sweep.

Problem is, Francisco still feels some inflammation in his knee from time to time -- not quite enough to keep him out of multiple games in a row, but still enough to give the Mets pause.

"You've got to be careful," manager Terry Collins said. "Frankie's a big strong guy, but the knee is an issue. I don't want that to flare up to where we miss him for a week."

Should Francisco be unable to go at any point this summer, setup man Jon Rauch would be the logical candidate to pitch the ninth inning. But Collins said Monday that he would also consider 41-year-old Miguel Batista, who closed regularly in winter ball over the offseason and with the Blue Jays in 2005.

"He's done it," Collins said. "He's been there. He's been in those situations. You don't pitch for [17] Major League seasons without being put in some tough situations. If there's one guy down there that we know can deal with it, it's Miguel."