Frank Francisco on track to return from disabled list Monday

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Frank Francisco’s rehab assignment was delayed earlier this week due to a right knee injury, but he’s now on track to rejoin the Mets when they begin a three-game series Monday in San Francisco.

According to Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com, Francisco allowed one hit while throwing 21 pitches in a scoreless inning yesterday in his second rehab appearance with Double-A Binghamton. It’s a good sign, as he was a little rusty in his first appearance Wednesday, where he gave up one run on three hits and a walk over two-thirds of an inning. He’s expected to make his third appearance today, which should clear the way for his activation.

Francisco has been on the disabled list since June 23 with a strained left oblique. He had a minor setback with the oblique earlier this month and required a cortisone shot to relieve discomfort in his right knee earlier this week.

Francisco, 32, has compiled a 4.97 ERA and 31/14 K/BB ratio over 29 innings this season while converting 18 out of 21 save opportunities. Bobby Parnell is currently serving as the closer, but he should move back into a set-up role up Francisco’s return.

J.D. Martinez tells teams he prefers an outfield role

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Free agent outfielder/slugger J.D. Martinez is reportedly seeking an outfield gig, says Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald. According to Silverman’s sources, Martinez’s suitors have been informed that the veteran slugger would give preference to teams that can offer a corner outfield spot, rather than a DH-only role.

That could spell trouble for the Red Sox, who appear to be Martinez’s biggest suitors so far this offseason. Outfielders Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi are firmly established at the corners, and prior reports from club president Dave Dombrowski suggest that center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. is not going anywhere anytime soon (thereby eliminating the possibility of reshuffling the outfield). The DH spot is still wide open for Martinez, who doesn’t seem to be totally closed off to the idea, but any full-time or part-time role on the field is likely off the table at this point.

Of course, the Red Sox aren’t the only ones pursuing Martinez’s services this winter. The 30-year-old slugger has been linked to both the Diamondbacks and Giants in weeks past, and while they have the roster flexibility to accommodate his preferences, they’ll need to clear another massive hurdle: the seven-year, $250 million contract he’s said to be seeking. Both clubs will need to get creative to make such a deal work. The Diamondbacks are rumored to be shopping right-hander Zack Greinke in an attempt to free up some room on their payroll for Martinez, while the Giants appear more inclined to scour the trade market for outfield help than shell out cash for another hefty contract in free agency.