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.

There will be a pitch clock for spring training

Associated Press
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Major League Baseball just announced that there will be a pitch clock for spring training. It will be a 20-second pitch clock, phased in like so:

  • In the first Spring Training games, the 20-second timer will operate without enforcement so as to make players and umpires familiar with the new system;
  • Early next week, umpires will issue reminders to pitchers and hitters who violate the rule, but no ball-strike penalties will be assessed. Between innings, umpires are expected to inform the club’s field staff (manager, pitching coach or hitting coach) of any violations; and
  • Later in Spring Training, and depending on the status of the negotiations with the Major League Baseball Players Association, umpires will be instructed to begin assessing ball-strike penalties for violations.

As is the case in the minors, the batter will have to be in the batter’s box and alert to the pitcher with at least five seconds remaining on the timer; and the pitcher needs only to begin his windup before the 20-second timer expires, as opposed to having thrown the pitch. The timer will not be used on the first pitch of any at-bat. Rather, it begins running prior to the second pitch once the pitcher receives the ball from the catcher.

The league has not decided if the pitch clock will be used in the regular season yet. It can do so unilaterally, without union approval, for one year if it chooses to since it first introduced the idea last year.

There will likely be a lot of complaining about this, but as someone who has been to several minor league games with the clock in place, it’s pretty seamless and not noticeable. Minor leaguers had few if any complaints about its implementation.