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.
Lefty reliever Jonny Venters was among a handful of players the Rays signed to minor league contracts, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports.
Venters, 32, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2012 and has logged just 27 2/3 innings in the minors in the meantime due to a continuous battle with his elbow. According to David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Venters has undergone four — four! — Tommy John surgeries.
When he was healthy, Venters was a fearsome late-game option for the Braves. He posted a 1.95 ERA with 93 strikeouts in 83 innings in 2010, and a 1.84 ERA with 96 strikeouts in 88 innings in 2011. His first-half performance in 2011 earned him a spot on the National League All-Star roster.
Venters has spent the last two years in the Rays’ system and he’ll try to make it a third.