UPDATE: It turns out it wasn’t all good news for Francisco. Mets assistant general manager John Ricco told Rubin that the veteran reliever was actually diagnosed with a mild strain of the flexor pronator in his right elbow. Either way, he’s going to rest for 72 hours before attempting to throw again.
6:32 PM: Frank Francisco was nearing a return from the disabled list before he was scratched from a bullpen session Saturday with renewed soreness in his surgically-repaired right elbow, but he received some good news today.
According to Adam Rubin of ESPN New York, Mets manager Terry Collins said that doctors did not find any structural damage in Francisco’s elbow. The plan calls for him to rest for a few days before he’ll attempt to resume throwing. Still, the timeline for his return to the Mets’ bullpen remains up in the air, which may or may not be a good thing depending on who you ask.
Francisco posted a career-high 5.53 ERA in 48 appearances last season as the Mets’ closer and had a bone spur removed from his elbow in December. The 33-year-old right-hander is making $6.5 million this season. Bobby Parnell has emerged as the team’s closer during his absence, though he has only received five save chances thus far.
The Mariners acquired Yankees’ right-hander Nick Rumbelow in exchange for minor league righty Juan Then and left-hander JP Sears, per an official announcement on Saturday. Rumbelow made 17 appearances for the Yankees in 2015 before undergoing Tommy John surgery and could provide some bullpen depth for the Mariners in 2018.
The 26-year-old right-hander spent the majority of his 2017 season in Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, where he delivered an 0.62 ERA, 2.5 BB/9 and 9.3 SO/9 over 29 innings. The Yankees didn’t rush Rumbelow into a full workload after he missed the 2016 season recovering from Tommy John, but he didn’t appear to have any significant setbacks with his health or performance and should be ready to compete for a role next spring.
Sears, 21, was ranked 21st in the Mariners’ organization by MLB Pipeline. He was drafted in the 11th round of the 2017 draft and features a deceptive, low-velocity fastball that he can throw for strikes to either side of the plate. In his first year of pro ball, he split 17 games between Short-Season A Everett and Single-A Clinton, turning in an 0.65 ERA, 3.9 BB/9 and 16.6 SO/9 across two levels.
Then, 17, also completed his first year of pro ball after signing with the Mariners as a free agent. He went 2-2 in 13 games of rookie ball, pitching to a 2.64 ERA, 2.2 BB/9 and 8.2 SO/9 in 61 1/3 innings. Neither Sears nor Then will take the mound for the Yankees anytime soon, and offloading Rumbelow to the Mariners should clear up some room on New York’s 40-man roster as they prepare for the upcoming Rule 5 Draft.