PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Former closer Frank Francisco threw live batting practice on Saturday for the first time this spring, putting him on track to accelerate his throwing program. But Francisco, who told reporters he felt "sore" after the outing, remains an extreme longshot to break camp with the Mets next weekend.
Battling inflammation in his surgically repaired right elbow, Francisco first stepped on a mound two weekends ago. He has made steady progress since then -- increasing his workload and effort.
The Mets expect Francisco to return to game action sometime this week, perhaps in a Minor League environment. But even if Francisco comes out of that unscathed, there are not enough days left in camp for him to make a serious run at the Opening Day roster.
Until Francisco arrives in New York, Bobby Parnell will serve as closer. The Mets have made it clear that even if Francisco comes back healthy early in April, Parnell could still hang onto the job.