Frank Francisco: Yanks 'chickens'

Updated: June 23, 2012, 5:27 PM ET
By Adam Rubin | ESPNNewYork.com

NEW YORK -- Mets closer Frank Francisco showed no fear in taking a swipe at his Bronx counterparts, calling the Yankees "chickens" on the eve of their weekend matchup.

"I can't wait to strike out those chickens," Francisco told the New York Post. "I want to strike out the side against them. I've done it before."

Francisco offered no elaboration for the swipe, then told the newspaper, "I think I've said too much already."

Francisco did get to face the Yankees on Friday night but didn't strike out the side. Instead, he allowed a one-out walk and single before retiring the final two batters, including a strikeout of Curtis Granderson, to preserve's the Mets' 6-4 series-opening win.

After the comments came out, Mets relief pitcher Tim Byrdak apparently decided to have some fun. Byrdak revealed via Twitter that he bought a live chicken in Chinatown. He then shared video of the bird inside the Mets' clubhouse at Citi Field on Friday. He confirmed to ESPNNewYork.com the authenticity of his practical joke.

Of course, Byrdak now needs to find a home for the chicken.

"Does anyone live on a farm that could take a chicken off my hands?" Byrdak pleaded. "Don't want to see him get whacked. Please help."

Francisco's comment to the Post was rather odd. There was no apparent animosity when the Yankees slugged eight home runs in a three-game sweep of the Mets in the Bronx two weekends ago.

On Friday, Francisco said he wasn't aware of the stir he created until he arrived at Citi Field and his teammates greeted him with a rendition of the "Chicken Dance." Francisco then found a copy of the Post, with the photoshopped cover image of Derek Jeter's head on a chicken on his locker chair.

Francisco said he was not trying to ruffle feathers but added the Yankees complain too much.

"I make a simple comment, just that they complain a lot -- for every call, for everything," he said. "I thought it was funny. I didn't expect to make a big deal."

Francisco doesn't have much to chirp about this season. He narrowly converted his 17th save Wednesday as the Mets swept the Orioles, loading the bases and then walking in a run before preserving a 4-3 win.

The Yankees' reaction to the "chicken" comments? No harm, no fowl.

"What kind of chickens?" Alex Rodriguez asked. "Organic chickens? Rotisserie chickens? I like chickens." Then he added, "In all seriousness, you're not going to get anything out of me on this."

The only Yankee who seemed to take offense to Chickengate was Nick Swisher.

"I don't even know this dude and I don't think he knows any of us," Swisher said. "Those are some big words."

ESPNNewYork.com's Wallace Matthews contributed to this report.

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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