Frank Francisco undergoes minor elbow surgery

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From ESPN New York beat reporter Adam Rubin comes word that Mets closer Frank Francisco underwent surgery Tuesday afternoon to remove a bone spur from his right elbow. The procedure was deemed an intial success and the right-hander is expected to begin a throwing program in six weeks.

He should be fine for the start of spring training.

Francisco posted an ugly 5.53 ERA and 1.61 WHIP across 42 1/3 frames this past season for New York, but the 33-year-old converted 23 saves in 26 chances and he’s owed a $6.5 million salary in 2013 so he’s pretty much locked into that ninth-inning role.

If “Frank Frank” can get off to a hot start in 2013, the Mets may find a trade market for him in July.

Video: Gift Ngoepe singles in his first major league at-bat

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Pirates infielder Gift Ngoepe, just called up from Triple-A Indianapolis, singled in his first major league at-bat on Wednesday evening against Cubs starter Jon Lester. It was a well-struck ground ball up the middle in the bottom of the fourth inning. Unfortunately for him, the Pirates could not bring him around to score.

Ngoepe, who was pinch-hitting, stayed in the game to play second base.

Shelby Miller getting third opinion on elbow from Dr. James Andrews

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Diamondbacks starter Shelby Miller was placed on the 10-day disabled list on Monday due to inflammation in his right elbow. He had a second opinion from Dr. Neal ElAttrache on Tuesday and is currently awaiting a third opinion from Dr. James Andrews, Craig Grialou of Arizona Sports reports. That he’s getting a third opinion seems to imply that Miller’s elbow issue is rather serious.

Miller, 26, hasn’t been able to catch a break since joining the Diamondbacks. Last year’s nightmarish season included a finger injury stemming from mechanical woes and a brief demotion to the minor leagues. In 20 starts in the majors last year, Miller posted an ugly 6.15 ERA. This year, his ERA is a mediocre 4.09 over four starts.

The Diamondbacks called up Zack Godley to take Miller’s spot in the rotation. There was some speculation that it would be Archie Bradley instead, but he’s been working out of the bullpen.