Mets' Francisco likely won't return until August

Mets' Francisco likely won't return until August

WASHINGTON -- A July return seems out of the question for injured closer Frank Francisco, who will not restart his Minor League rehabilitation assignment until next Friday.

The plan is for Francisco to throw bullpen sessions next Monday and Wednesday, before appearing in the first of two or three rehab games on July 27. Should all go according to plan, that would put Francisco in line for an early-August return.

The closer has already suffered one setback in his rehab from a strained left oblique, which has sidelined him since June 23.

In Francisco's absence, Bobby Parnell has begun struggling as the team's dedicated closer, blowing two consecutive saves after converting his first two opportunities.

"When you've got that kind of stuff, you've got to make the hitters a little bit more uncomfortable than [Parnell's] made them," manager Terry Collins said, saying he met with Parnell on Wednesday to suggest that he throw inside more often. "Frankie is one of those guys that works both sides of the plate with his fastball. It keeps them a little more off-balanced."