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Mets' Frank Francisco could return in '5 or 6 days'

Frank Francisco pitches during the ninth inning of

Frank Francisco pitches during the ninth inning of a game against the Atlanta Braves at Citi Field. (April 7, 2012) Credit: Jim McIsaac

The Mets' desperate call for bullpen help is likely to be answered by Frank Francisco in the "next five or six days" according to Terry Collins. But the question now is whether the team will get its closer back in time to salvage the season.

Francisco, who has been on the disabled list since June 23 with a left oblique strain, received a cortisone shot Monday for an aching right knee and is now expected to make a rehab appearance Wednesday for Double-A Binghamton at New Britain.

It's never a good sign when a player gets additional treatment for problems unrelated to their initial DL stint, but Francisco sounded confident that he would be back on the mound soon.

When asked about the shot for his knee, Francisco replied, "That was just from the running maybe." As for a possible return date, he said, "You ask questions like I'm God."

The Mets could use some divine intervention these days, and it doesn't seem like any help is coming by more earthly methods. Sandy Alderson has shown no urgency to trade for bullpen reinforcements, leaving Collins to keep his fingers crossed on Francisco.

"We need him back very badly," Collins said."

Glen Cove's Hansen signed

Craig Hansen, the Glen Cove native and 2005 first-round draft pick from St. John's, has signed a minor-league contract that runs through the 2013 season. Hansen, 28, last pitched professionally in 2010 in the Pirates' system but advanced only as far as Double-A Altoona. He made five major-league appearances for the Pirates in 2009, with a 5.68 ERA in a total of 61/3 innings.

Tejada on mend

Ruben Tejada had two large bandages on his right shin before Tuesday night's game -- souvenirs from getting spiked by Roger Bernadina in Monday's loss. Tejada didn't require stitches, but was given the night off anyway as Collins chose to start Roger Cedeno at shortstop. "I feel good -- perfecto," Tejada said. "If they need me, I'm ready to play."

New York Sports