PHOENIX -- Frank Francisco appeared to be zeroing in on a return to active duty before another setback Saturday thrust the closer's status in doubt.
Scheduled to pitch for Double-A Binghamton, Francisco did not appear in the game, later telling the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin that he felt soreness in his left side and intended to pitch on Sunday. Mets manager Terry Collins had not been briefed on the injury as of Saturday evening and could not comment on its severity.
Earlier in the day, Collins said that if all went well in Francisco's outing for the B-Mets, it could be his final Minor League rehab appearance. Initially expected to miss no more than 15 days, Francisco suffered a similar setback earlier this month, then received an injection for an unrelated knee ailment last week.
On the disabled list since June 23 with a strained left oblique, Francisco struggled in his rehab debut for Binghamton, but settled down to notch a scoreless save on Friday. Though interim closer Bobby Parnell has been shaky at times in Francisco's absence, blowing two saves in five chances, he has also posted a 2.31 ERA with more than a strikeout per inning over that span.
Francisco was one of the team's best relievers prior to landing on the disabled list, converting 10 of his last 11 save opportunities with a 1.76 ERA.