Jeff Francis to open season on disabled list

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Jeff Francis.jpgJeff Francis, who was slated to pitch the second game of the season against the Brewers, is headed to the 15-day disabled list because of pain below his left armpit. The 29-year-old left-hander missed the entire 2009 season due to shoulder surgery. He told Jim Armstrong of the Denver Post that he began feeling the pain after tossing five scoreless innings against the Cubs on Thursday.

“It’s hurting pretty bad, but not like
before,” said Francis. “I don’t know if that’s good news or bad. I threw
the ball (Thursday) in a way I hadn’t thrown it in a long time. It was
probably taxing on my shoulder and it probably wasn’t ready for it.
Needless to say, I’m pretty disappointed.”

Francis hasn’t yet gone for an MRI, but the pain was so significant that he was not able to play catch on flat ground on Friday. It’s a frustrating setback for the former 17-game winner.

While Francis is sidelined, left-hander Greg Smith is expected to take his place in the rotation. Smith, who was acquired along with Huston Street and Carlos Gonzalez from the Athletics in the Matt Holliday trade, has a 1.50 ERA and 18/6 K/BB ratio over 18 innings this spring.

Report: Mets showing interest in Bartolo Colon

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Last month, free agent right-hander Bartolo Colon told reporters that he’d be open to taking a minor league deal in 2018, but only if he was guaranteed a return to the Mets’ system. The 44-year-old starter is nearing the end of a 20-year career, and it makes sense that he’d want to have one last hurrah in the city where he had some of his most productive years.

Now, Twins starter Ervin Santana tells Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press, it looks like the Mets might also be open to a reunion. It’s doubtful that Colon has all that much left in the tank, especially following a combined 7-14 record and 6.48 ERA for the Braves and Twins last year, but he’s not necessarily looking to reproduce the 15+ win, sub-4.00 ERA totals of years past.

Instead, Santana says, Colon is seeking the opportunity to win just six more games. He’ll enter the 2018 season five wins shy of the all-time record for a Latin American-born player, and is hoping to claim that title for himself before he enters retirement in 2019. Former Orioles and Expos hurler Dennis Martinez currently holds the record after clinching his 245th win back in 1998. While it took Colon a full season of starts to come up with even seven wins in 2017, he’s only one year removed from a 15-win campaign in 2016. Provided that the Mets are willing to gamble on him again, the milestone may not be that far out of reach.