The team’s closer planned to have an MRI exam on his left knee yesterday after encountering swelling in recent days. Francisco said his knee had been an issue earlier in spring training.
“Early in camp I felt a little sore in there and it went away,” Francisco said. “But the last three days I’ve felt soreness in there again, and that’s it.”
If Francisco needs a disabled-list stint, Jon Rauch would likely move into the closer’s role, though Bobby Parnell might warrant consideration based on a spring in which he has a 0.00 ERA over 11 appearances. Ramon Ramirez and Manny Acosta would be other possibilities.
Manager Terry Collins said there have been no discussions over who would be the closer if Francisco is sidelined.
Francisco had a rough outing against the Marlins on Saturday, when he surrendered two earned runs over two innings. The right-hander indicated his knee swelled up between innings, adding to his misery. He had the knee drained Sunday.
Francisco, who signed a two-year deal worth $12 million with the Mets over the winter, is 0-2 with a 5.54 ERA in 11 appearances this spring.
* Parnell pitched three scoreless innings as the starter in the Mets’ 8-2 exhibition victory over the Braves yesterday, and Ruben Tejada provided the offensive spark with a three-run homer.
* Jon Niese wouldn’t comment directly on his contract negotiations with the Mets, but said he is honored the organization values him as a long term solution. According to a major league source, Niese and the Mets are in the latter stages of negotiating a five-year contract extension.
“It’s an honor to be thought of in that way,” Niese said. “I really like this organization. I love the teammates. I think we do have a lot of talent.”