Mets will proceed with caution with Francisco

Mets will proceed with caution with Francisco

NEW YORK -- All month, Frank Francisco waited for the Mets to give him a save opportunity. When it finally came, Francisco was unable to pitch.

"That really killed me," Francisco said of the right elbow tendinitis that kept him out of Wednesday's game. "But you know? The only thing we can do is keep fighting."

Francisco hopes to pitch again this season, though manager Terry Collins indicated that the Mets will be cautious with their closer heading down the stretch. Francisco has already missed time this year with knee and midsection injuries, and has a history of elbow trouble.

When healthy enough to pitch, Francisco has struggled, saving 23 games in 26 chances but supplementing that with a 5.53 ERA. The Mets have not given him a save opportunity since Sept. 1.

"He's had some ups and downs," Collins said. "But when you miss as much time as he did ... we're certainly disappointed that we didn't have him healthy all year, but I'd have to say for the majority of the year, he pitched pretty good."

Still, if Francisco has proven anything, it is that the Mets may not be able to count on his health for an entire season. To that end, Collins said he may look for a second pitcher next spring who can step in as closer if Francisco cannot pitch. Collins mentioned Jeurys Familia by name, saying he will look to put Familia in high-pressure situations down the stretch to see how the rookie handles them.