Francisco nears rehab stint; return to Mets close

Francisco nears rehab stint; return to Mets close

Francisco nears rehab stint; return to Mets close
NEW YORK -- Mets closer Frank Francisco said he "felt good" after taking part in a long-toss session on Friday afternoon at Citi Field.

Manager Terry Collins said that Francisco, who has been sidelined since June 23 with a strained left oblique muscle, will rest on Saturday and throw off a mound on Sunday. The skipper said that if all goes well, Francisco will begin his Minor League rehab assignment next Friday.

"If I have my command, I can go in two games," Francisco said about the potential length of his assignment. "That's all I need. If I can control the baseball, I'll be fine."

As to whether or not his lingering soreness will have an effect on his velocity, Francisco said he isn't too worried.

"I don't really worry that much about my velocity," Francisco said. "The key for me is the command, control of the baseball. If I can hit my spot and locate my pitches, I'll be OK."

Bobby Parnell has stepped into the closer's role in Francisco's absence but has blown each of his two most recent save opportunities, the latest coming on Tuesday in Washington, D.C. Parnell pitched the ninth inning of New York's 9-5 win over the Nationals on Thursday but surrendered a run on two hits.

"When you've got that kind of stuff, you've got to make the hitters a little bit more uncomfortable than he has made them," Collins said of Parnell on Wednesday. "Frankie is one of those guys that works both sides of the plate with his fastball. It keeps them a little more off balance."