Frank Francisco on track to return from disabled list Monday

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Frank Francisco’s rehab assignment was delayed earlier this week due to a right knee injury, but he’s now on track to rejoin the Mets when they begin a three-game series Monday in San Francisco.

According to Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com, Francisco allowed one hit while throwing 21 pitches in a scoreless inning yesterday in his second rehab appearance with Double-A Binghamton. It’s a good sign, as he was a little rusty in his first appearance Wednesday, where he gave up one run on three hits and a walk over two-thirds of an inning. He’s expected to make his third appearance today, which should clear the way for his activation.

Francisco has been on the disabled list since June 23 with a strained left oblique. He had a minor setback with the oblique earlier this month and required a cortisone shot to relieve discomfort in his right knee earlier this week.

Francisco, 32, has compiled a 4.97 ERA and 31/14 K/BB ratio over 29 innings this season while converting 18 out of 21 save opportunities. Bobby Parnell is currently serving as the closer, but he should move back into a set-up role up Francisco’s return.

Bryce Harper played some third base in an intrasquad game

Bryce Harper third base
Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
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Phillies star outfielder Bryce Harper played some third base during Monday’s intrasquad game at Citizens Bank Park, Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports. Harper had been pestering manager Joe Girardi for the opportunity and the skipper finally gave in.

Girardi told Harper, “No diving. And make sure your arm is loose.” Harper had the opportunity to field one ball, a grounder to his left and he made the play perfectly.

Why put Harper at third base? Girardi said, “I think it’s important the guys have fun. I saw him a week ago taking ground balls there and I was impressed. His hands worked well out front and he threw the ball across the field well. I told him, ‘You look good there.'”

Despite the solid showing, don’t expect Harper to show up at third base in a meaningful game anytime soon. That being said, the Phillies’ second and third base situations are still not cemented. Jean Segura will likely open the season at the hot corner with Scott Kingery at second, but things could change between now and Opening Day in 10 days.

Harper, 27, is coming off a solid first season with the Phillies. He hit .260/.372/.510 with 36 doubles, 35 home runs, 114 RBI, 98 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases across 682 plate appearances. Per FanGraphs, Harper’s 4.6 Wins Above Replacement ranked 16th in the National League. For some people, those numbers weren’t nearly good enough, so the expectations remain high as Harper enters year two of his 13-year, $330 million contract.