Frank Francisco resumes throwing, expects to be ready for Opening Day

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Frank Francisco shook off his elbow problems to throw yesterday for the first time since being shut down with soreness two weeks ago, making tosses from 60 feet on flat ground.

According to manager Terry Collins “he threw fine” and was “nice and free and easy.”

Francisco had swelling and soreness stemming from his December surgery to remove bone chips, but Collins told Jorge Castillo of the Newark Star Ledger that the reliever should be ready for Opening Day. Which presumably means Francisco remains the Mets’ closer and Bobby Parnell will go back to setting him up.

Phillies sign Francisco Liriano and Neil Walker to minor league deals

Francisco Liriano
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Robert Murray and MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reported earlier, respectively, that the Phillies signed pitcher Francisco Liriano and infielder Neil Walker to minor league contracts. If he makes the major league roster, Liriano will earn a salary of $1.5 million with an additional $1.25 million available through performance incentives. Walker’s contract information is not yet known.

Liriano, 36, struggled from 2016-18 but enjoyed a productive year out of the bullpen for the Pirates this past season. He posted a 3.47 ERA with 63 strikeouts and 35 walks over 70 innings. The lefty was quite effective against same-handed batters, limiting fellow lefties to a .659 OPS. That would figure to be a key component if Liriano makes the Phillies’ Opening Day roster.

Walker, 34, hit .261/.344/.395 with eight home runs and 38 RBI over 381 plate appearances with the Marlins last year. The veteran is versastile, having played first, second, and third base along with both corner outfield spots in recent seasons. Despite Walker’s versatility, it is tough to see room on the Phillies’ roster for him, barring injuries to other players. It never hurts to have depth.