Frank Francisco’s rough spring training now includes a knee injury.
Andy McCullough of the Newark Star Ledger reports that the Mets closer had his left knee drained to reduce swelling yesterday and is scheduled to undergo an MRI exam today.
Francisco has allowed 18 hits and four walks in 11 innings this spring, going 0-2 with a 5.54 ERA in 11 appearances while showing diminished fastball velocity.
Francisco’s track record as a setup man suggests he can get the job done as a closer if given the opportunity and the Mets seem pretty committed to letting him sink or swim in the ninth-inning role after giving him a two-year, $12 million deal, but the bum knee and missing miles per hour could make things tough.
Aaron Boone has no experience as a coach or a manager at any level. As such, some have speculated that he’d hire a more seasoned hand as his bench coach as he begins his first season as Yankees manager. Someone like, say, Eric Wedge, who was a candidate for the job Boone got and who once managed Boone in Cleveland.
Nope. According to MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand, he’s going with Josh Bard.
Bard, 39, was a teammate of Boone’s with the Indians in 2005. He’s not without coaching experience, having spent the last two seasons as the Dodgers’ bullpen coach, but he’s not that Gene Lamont/Don Zimmer-type we often see in the bench coach role.
Which is fine because different managers want different things from their bench coach. Some are strategy guys, helping with in-game decision making. Others are relationship guys who help managers understand all of the dynamics of the clubhouse while they’re worrying more about lineups and stuff. Others are trust guys, who can serve as the manager’s sounding board, among other things. Some are combinations of all of these things. As Feinsand notes in his story, Boone said at his introductory press conference that he’s looking for this:
“I want smart sitting next to me. I want confidence sitting next to me. I want a guy who can walk out into that room and as I talk about relationships I expect to have with my players, I expect that even to be more so with my coaching staff. Whether that is a guy with all kinds of experience or little experience. I am not concerned about that.”