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Mets' Frank Francisco says his elbow has improved

Mets reliever Frank Francisco during a spring training

Mets reliever Frank Francisco during a spring training workout at Tradition Field. (Feb. 13, 2013) Photo Credit: Newsday/Alejandra Villa

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Frank Francisco reported feeling some improvement in his troublesome right elbow, though manager Terry Collins said it's still unclear when the pitcher will be cleared to throw.

"He told me this morning he's feeling better," Collins said Tuesday.

The Mets shut Francisco down when he complained last week of soreness in his right elbow, an issue stemming from last season. Even after arthroscopic surgery in December, Francisco's elbow flared up once more, partly because personal issues prevented him from following a proper rehab schedule.

Collins doesn't want Francisco to rush the process.

"Well, remember we've got five weeks," he said. "So when you're ready, we'll start the process. But the minute you start to push it is when you'll be down longer than you think."

Francisco, who is in the second year of a two-year, $12-million contract, has lost his closer's job to righthander Bobby Parnell.

Two pen lefties?

The Mets might emerge from camp with a second lefty in the bullpen. At least, it appears that way, with five legitimate options in camp.

"You can't just have anybody down there," said Collins, who is encouraged by the candidates in spring training.Josh Edgin and Robert Carson emerged in the second half last season as homegrown options. But the Mets also brought in lefties Scott Rice, Aaron Laffey and Pedro Feliciano.

Rice and Carson will make their first appearances in an intrasquad game Friday. Laffey, Feliciano and Edgin are on the schedule against Houston on Sunday.


Pitching goes live

For the first time in camp, Mets pitchers threw batting practice to live hitters. But as is typical of the earliest days in camp, hitters took relatively few swings.

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