Target date set for Jays' Francisco

MIKE RUTSEY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 4:58 PM ET

BRADENTON, Fla. — The target date for closer candidate Frank Francisco to return to the mound from his shoulder problem is March 22.

It’s not a D-Date that’s etched in marble but if Francisco isn’t over his shoulder woes by that date it will be unlikely that he’ll have enough innings under him to open the season with the Jays.

If that’s the case, look for the closer’s job to fall to Jon Rauch, the 6-foot-11 right-hander with the bulging eyes.

“Frankie reported today feeling improved and we feel like Saturday is the day that we’ll shoot to get a bullpen in with him,” manager John Farrell said. “That would put him in line to get into a game, hopefully the 22nd. That’s the day we’re targeting. If that goes according to plan, he’ll get those four (additional) appearances remaining in camp that we’ve targeted as a satisfactory or minimal number of appearances in camp.”

Francisco has made just two appearances, both one-inning stints, this spring.

“The first outing we’d like to get him a minor-league game and then get him three appearances in A games,” Farrell added.


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