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Francisco takes step back; Mets concerned

NEW YORK -- So much for an impending return from former closer Frank Francisco.

Francisco, who has been battling inflammation in his surgically repaired right elbow since the early days of Spring Training, skipped his scheduled bullpen session Saturday due to unexpected elbow discomfort. The Mets plan to send him for a medical checkup this week, with no timetable for his return to the mound.

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NEW YORK -- So much for an impending return from former closer Frank Francisco.

Francisco, who has been battling inflammation in his surgically repaired right elbow since the early days of Spring Training, skipped his scheduled bullpen session Saturday due to unexpected elbow discomfort. The Mets plan to send him for a medical checkup this week, with no timetable for his return to the mound.

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"I have concerns about Frank," manager Terry Collins said. "But guys that aren't here? When they're ready to pitch, call me. Right now, I've got enough issues with guys that are here."

Francisco seemed primed for a promotion to Double-A Binghamton as soon as this weekend, or perhaps even a trip straight to the Majors. Instead, the former closer took a step back into rehab purgatory, awaiting the results of this week's checkup.

"What that leads to, I have no idea," Collins said. "We did not have any date etched in stone that we knew he was coming. It's one of those things that when you've got a guy on the disabled list, you wait until he tells you he's ready to pitch."

In Francisco's absence, Bobby Parnell has seized the closer's role, saving three games in five opportunities.

New York Mets, Greg Burke, Ike Davis, Jeurys Familia, Frank Francisco, Bobby Parnell