Mets closer Frank Francisco has been placed on the 15-day disabled list with a left oblique strain. The closer had an MRI performed Sunday and the team made a decision after seeing him do exercises before the Yankees faced the Mets.
His time on the disabled list will be retroactive to June 23, as he also missed Saturday’s game vs. the Yankees.
“Even if it’s a big thing, nothing you can do about it,” Francisco said. “Trying to fix it. Come back as soon as possible and do whatever you can do to keep fighting here.”
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Francisco, who added some fire to the Subway Series by calling the Yankees “chickens”, felt his left oblique area stiffen after making the save in the Mets’ 6-4 win Friday. When he went to play catch before Saturday’s game, the area was still sore, and he was unavailable Saturday night.
“I felt a little sore after the game (Friday) night but I thought it was normal,” Francisco said Saturday. “I put on. (Saturday) I feel a little worse. I went outside anyway and threw to see if it was something minor. I still feel it.”
Losing Francisco is a tough blow for a Mets bullpen that has a collective ERA of 5.30 and has already blown 13 saves and has 16 losses spread among its pitchers. The closer is 1-3 with a 4.97 ERA and has converted 18 of 21 saves on the year.
“You kind of like to know that your bridge is to get to this guy and when you lose that guy it now disrupts all of the little pieces that you have in place to get there and it puts guys in different roles and different situations,” manager Terry Collins said. “It can be a thing that really affects you but we’re going to have to deal with it.”
Francisco had been particularly effective over the past two months, blowing just two saves in 15 opportunities. In June, he had just one blown save, and has converted 10 of his last 11, including four straight opportunities.
“I believe in God and I put everything in his hands and whatever he decides, I’m down for,” Francisco said of the injury coming while he’s pitching well.
With Francisco out, the team will probably use reliever Bobby Parnell as the closer, according to Collins. Parnell had not been used as the setup man as of late, but the manager likes the way that the reliever has been throwing. Parnell is 1-1 with a 3.30 ERA on the year.
“I like the velocity, it’s starting to come up with good command of it,” Collins said of Parnell. “His breaking ball is still sharp. He’s throwing it for strikes. I like the fact that sometimes he can challenge hitters with that real good fastball and had some success with it.”
The Mets made another roster move before the game, demoting infielder Jordany Valdespin to Triple-A Buffalo. Shortstop Ruben Tejada will be activated for the game and bat second, while reliever Ramon Ramirez will also be activated.
Tejada was 4-for-16 with three runs scored and two RBIs in his four rehab games as he worked his way back from a right quad strain. Buffalo manager Wally Backman told the team that Tejada was ready to be brought back, as he had been running well and his at-bats were getting better. Ramirez was on the disabled list with a strained right hamstring.
“We just (think Tejada)’s a big part of the lineup and we know it’s time for him to come up and start getting some at-bats and getting back in form here,” Collins said.
First baseman Ike Davis, who was a late scratch from Saturday’s lineup with possible food poisoning, is not in the lineup Sunday but is available to play. Davis said he had some bad oysters and seafood for lunch and expects to get in the game at some point Sunday.
“I just said ‘look, I’d rather have you available when I need you late than have you start the game and all of a sudden you get sick to your stomach and have to take you out,'” Collins said. “He can play but he’ll be later.”
Matt Ehalt is a frequent contributor to ESPNNewYork.com.
Mets put closer Francisco (oblique strain) on DL
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