Frank Francisco needed fluid drained from his knee and got a cortisone shot to alleviate the pain, but the Mets closer is expected to be ready for Opening Day.
Andy McCullough of the Newark Star Ledger reports that Francisco “felt good” after throwing a bullpen session and an MRI exam showed no major damage, but his lack of velocity and poor performance this spring certainly remains a concern.
His grip on the closer role, however, should be pretty strong thanks to a two-year, $12 million deal and, if healthy, Francisco’s track record as a setup man suggests he’s very capable of getting the job done.
Phillies third baseman Will Middlebrooks suffered a serious injury during Saturday’s Grapefruit League contest against the Orioles. The infielder was chasing down a pop fly in the eighth inning when he ran into left fielder Andrew Pullin, who inadvertently trapped Middlebrooks’ ankle under his leg. Middlebrooks was unable to put weight on his leg following the collision and was carted off the field and taken to a local hospital for X-rays.
Per MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki, not much is known yet about the severity of the ankle injury or the recovery time it will require, though it appears serious enough to set Middlebrooks back considerably as he seeks a backup/bench role with the team this spring.
The 29-year-old is currently seeking another opportunity to extend his six-year major-league career in 2018. He’s coming off of two down years with the Brewers and Rangers, during which he slashed a cumulative .169/.229/.262 with four extra bases through 70 plate appearances.