DUNEDIN, Fla. — The Jays are downplaying any concern they have over the health of closer candidate Frank Francisco.
The barrel-chested right-hander was supposed to throw an inning in Saturday’s game against Pittsburgh but was a scratch after feeling something in his shoulder warming up.
“When he was getting loose yesterday he felt like there was a pinching sensation or something that wasn’t quite right in his mind,” manager John Farrell said. “As he was getting close to getting fully hot for the game, he thought it was best to step out and not go through the one inning or work.
“He went in and got checked by George Poulis (the Jays trainer) and felt fine, even to the point where he came out and threw another 10 pitches in the bullpen at full intensity and felt like it was a knot in the front of his shoulder that he didn’t feel like it was worth pushing through it at this point in camp. It doesn’t take him out of his turn the next time around which would be Tuesday.”
At the start of camp Francisco was working on his own schedule, going slow to build up strength. But now, you have to wonder if between the two maybe something’s up.
Farrell though, doesn’t seem concerned at this point and says that Francisco missing just the one appearance won’t have an impact on who emerges as the Jays closer. Francisco, who was acquired in a trade with the Texas Rangers, is the leading candidate followed by Jon Rauch and Jason Frasor.
“Against Tampa (in his last appearance) he threw the ball very aggressively with good intent and conviction with all his stuff,” Farrell added. “There’s no added concern and it doesn’t take him out of his work on Tuesday.”
It’s something worth monitoring.