By: Stache Staff

Frank Francisco says his knee is ready to go despite swelling

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I know it wasn’t thrilling news when the Mets signed relief pitcher Frank Francisco to a two year/$12 million contract over the winter, but it’s not as though the team is loaded with end-of-game relief options. Now that the health of Francisco’s knee is up in the air, the Mets are getting closer to having to explore some of those limited options.

The good news is that Francisco was able to throw a bullpen session without a problem this morning and is calling himself ready for Opening Day. However, he does note that there is some lingering knee swelling.

If Francisco had been unable to go on Opening Day, the top candidates to replace him as the 9th inning guy would be Jon Rauch and Bobby Parnell. Although Rauch is the more experienced guy, I’d rather see Parnell in the role because of his high strikeout and groundball rates. Last season, Parnell struck out more than one batter per inning pitched and produced grounders on 50.6% of batted balls. His walk rate was 4.1 per nine innings, but if he can get that down, Parnell can be a very effective pitcher.

Rauch has better control (2.42 walks per nine as a Blue Jay last season), but his 34.5% groundball rate means that there’s a greater chance of opponents taking him deep. Ramon Ramirez is another option, but his walk, strikeout and groundball rates are similar enough to Parnell’s to make me prefer the higher upside of the homegrown Parnell.

Mets vs. Yankees today

The Mets will spend the two days remaining until Opening Day sparring against the crosstown Bombers. Today, the game will start at 2 PM at Digital Domain Park and will be televised on SNY. Mike Pelfrey will start for the Mets against Ivan Nova of the Yanks.

Mets lineup is here.
Yankees lineup is here.

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