Frank Francisco’s return from oblique injury delayed by knee problems

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Frank Francisco was supposed to begin a minor-league rehab assignment today for his oblique injury, but those plans have been pushed back because the Mets closer is having knee problems.

Adam Rubin of ESPN New York reports that Francisco threw a 40-pitch bullpen session Sunday at Citi Field, but woke up yesterday with “right knee discomfort.” He got an anti-inflammatory injection and will presumably try again later this week.

Francisco has been out since June 23 and fill-in closer Bobby Parnell has blown two of his four save chances during that time, but also has a 2.53 ERA and 9/0 K/BB ratio in 11 innings.

The Red Sox to designate Hanley Ramirez for assignment

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The Boston Red Sox plan to activate Dustin Pedroia from the disabled list today. That’s a big deal. The move they’re making to make room for him on the roster is a big one too: they plan to designate Hanley Ramirez for assignment.

The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier first reported the impending transaction. He was told by a major league source that Ramirez was informed this morning he’ll be moved off the roster. A designation for assignment, of course, means that the Sox have seven days to either trade or release Ramirez.

Ramirez, 34, is experiencing his worst season as a major leaguer thus far, hitting .254/.313/.395 (88 OPS+) in 195 plate appearances as he split time between first base and designated hitter. Given how well Mitch Moreland has hit at first and J.D. Martinez has hit at DH, there is simply no room for Ramirez in the lineup.

Ramirez, a 14-year big league veteran, won the 2006 Rookie of the Year Award and won the NL batting title in 2009. He has been a below average hitter in three of his last four seasons, however, and long removed from his days as a middle infielder, he has little defensive value these days. That said, his fame and the possibility that he could put together a decent run if used wisely will likely get him some looks from other clubs.