Collins: Francisco remains closer

April, 22, 2012
Terry Collins is sticking with Frank Francisco as his closer.

Collins on Sunday morning met with Francisco, who assured the manager the knee woes that troubled him late in spring training are not hampering his performance. Francisco has been charged with runs in each of his past four appearances.

"I just told him yesterday was one of those days, that he's still the closer here and to be ready to pitch when we get him back out there," Collins said. "... I just went to him this morning and said, 'You've got to hang in there.' He's disappointed. He's mad at me because I took him out, which is the common thing that happens. And I certainly don't blame him. If I was in his shoes, I'd be mad too."

Jon Rauch, who also closed games for the Toronto Blue Jays last season, has not allowed a run in 8 1/3 innings this season, but Collins said: "We're not going to flip them."

Collins said Francisco may not be sharp because of erratic work. Francisco saved the Mets' first three games, but has none since the April 8 series finale against the Braves.

"One of the things that has been hard -- and I've been around closers -- the last two times he's been out there with the game on the line, but we've been unable to get him out there consistently," Collins said. "We've either had big leads, or we've lost some games that it's gone three and four days where he hasn't got in a game."
Adam Rubin has covered the Mets since 2003. He's a graduate of Mepham High School on Long Island and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He joined ESPNNewYork after spending 10 years at the New York Daily News.
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