Mets Closer Frank Francisco Has a Setback

 It seems to be starting early, even for the Mets.  This franchise has struggled with erratic to lousy bullpen performances and an inability to keep a healthy lineup.  The latest news is bad for both lists.  New York Mets reliever Frank Francisco has been shut down, just days after Mets Manager Terry Collins had re-anointed the 33-year old righty as closer. Francisco is not expected to throw for a while, prompting Collins to name Bobby Parnell to the position.

  One day after pitchers and catchers reported to camp Francisco told reporters that he is still dealing with inflammation in his right elbow.  Jorge Castillo of the Newark Star Ledger reports that Francisco, asked Tuesday to put an estimate on how his elbow is feeling, responded, "I'm at zero."

Francisco, signed as a free agent by the Mets last winter after seven years in the American League, had a career worst season.  His WHIP ballooned to 1.606. He missed much of the final month of the 2012 season due to elbow trouble and had surgery in December to remove a bone spur in his right elbow.

Collins' choice of Parnell to succeed Francisco comes over newly acquired Brandon Lyon, who has closer experience with the Diamondbacks and Astros.

Injuries have made this team nearly unrecognizable at times in recent seasons.   These injuries cannot become a trend for this team yet again, or the stands in Citifield will echo with emptiness.

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