Frank Francisco deals with helpless feeling
But, when things unraveled against the scrappy San Francisco Giants in Games 1 and 2 of the World Series for a bullpen charged with 11 earned runs, Francisco yearns to pitch and to help his team.
He hoped to be a part of the World Series roster, but during bullpen sessions in the days leading up to Wednesday morning’s deadline for manager Ron Washington to finalize the 25-man roster, it became apparent that Francisco’s arm injury – a right latissimus dorsi muscle strain -- just wouldn’t let him make the roster.
“It’s something that you can’t even explain with words,” Francisco said. “It’s a bad feeling. Sometimes I don’t want to even go out, but I know I got to go and support my teammates. But, it’s really tough.”
Francisco opened the season as the Rangers’ closer, but a rough opening week convinced Washington to promote rookie hurler Neftali Feliz, who wound up with 40 saves. Francisco worked out his problems and boasted a 6-4 record and 3.76 ERA with 60 strikeouts in 52 2/3 innings before the injury ended his season on Aug. 27.
It changed the dynamics of the bullpen, altering roles such as making Darren O’Day and Darren Oliver something of a righty-lefty late-inning combo to bridge to Feliz. Against the Giants, no one in the bullpen has fared well. He said he tries to encourage his teammates, telling them to trust their stuff.
A free agent at the end of the season, Francisco can only ponder what might have been if he’d been healthy enough to pitch in his and the franchise’s first World Series.
“We’re human. Things happen,” he said. “I don’t know if I would be able to change anything. The only thing I know is every time I go out there I leave everything I have on the mound.”
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
Play Podcast Rangers GM Jon Daniels joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to tackle the tough questions after his team failed to advance to the playoffs.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss having Nelson Cruz back in the lineup and how the Rangers are feeling heading into their wild-card play-in game against the Rays.
Play Podcast ESPN Insider and senior MLB analyst Jim Bowden joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss the wild-card race and the Rangers' chances of making the playoffs.
Play Podcast Chuck Cooperstein joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss why he feels Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish isn't an ace.
Play Podcast Elvis Andrus joins Galloway and Company to discuss the Rangers' stretch run and the morale level in their clubhouse.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss the latest Rangers news, including the team's struggles, Ron Washington's job security and a rumored trade with the Braves.
Play Podcast Ron Washington joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss the Rangers' dismal September, who's to blame for their September struggles and his status as the team's manager.
Play Podcast Fitzsimmons and Durrett discuss how some people are calling for the Rangers to fire manager Ron Washington.