Terry Collins doesn’t expect Frank Francisco to be ready for the season

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Frank Francisco arrived at camp with some inflammation following December surgery to remove a bone spur from his throwing elbow, but he managed to resume throwing earlier this week. Relievers generally don’t need much time to get tuned up for the season, but Mets manager Terry Collins isn’t counting on him.

According to Adam Rubin of ESPN New York, Collins said on WFAN yesterday that he’s moving forward as if Bobby Parnell will be the closer.

“I don’t think Frankie’s going to be ready for Opening Day, so it’ll be Bobby [Parnell],” Terry Collins told WFAN about the closer’s role. “And you know what? He can take that job and run with it.”

Francisco was awful in the closer role last season, posting a 5.53 ERA over 48 appearances, so it’s possible Collins would opt for Parnell even if he was 100 percent. The 33-year-old right-hander is owed $6.5 million in 2013 in the final year of his contract.

As for Parnell, he’s plenty worthy of the opportunity, even though he has struggled in previous opportunities as closer. The 28-year-old right-hander had an excellent 2.49 ERA and 61/20 K/BB ratio over 68 2/3 innings last season and has become a more effective pitcher since he implemented a knuckle-curve to complement his electric fastball.

Report: Twins sign Erick Aybar to minor-league deal

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The Twins have reportedly signed free agent shortstop Erick Aybar to a minor-league deal, LaVelle E. Neal III of the Star Tribune reported Friday. FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman adds that the deal comes with a potential $1.25 million if Aybar reaches the majors, with additional incentives based on plate appearances. He’ll be able to opt out on March 27. The team has yet to confirm the signing.

Aybar, 34, is now four years removed from his career year in 2014. He’s been in a state of steady decline since then, slashing just .234/.300/.348 with seven home runs and 11 stolen bases over 370 plate appearances for the Padres in 2017. His poor performance wasn’t helped by a fractured left foot, either, which cost him almost six weeks on the disabled list.

Still, the Twins see something promising in the veteran infielder, and reportedly intend to use him as another utility option this spring. Per Neal, Aybar will join fellow backup infielders Eduardo Escobar and Ehire Adrianza and may even (temporarily) take over for Miguel Sano at third base if Sano isn’t able to shape up for the role by Opening Day.