NEW YORK -- Mets reliever Frank Francisco left Game 1 of Saturday's doubleheader in pain, after taking a Logan Morrison comebacker off his right pinkie finger. It was Francisco's fourth appearance since making his long-awaited season debut earlier this month.
Francisco gave way to David Aardsma -- who recorded the final out of the inning -- and ultimately left the park to receive X-rays on his hand, which revealed a contusion but no break.
With two outs in the eighth inning at Citi Field, Morrison appeared to ask for time on an 0-2 pitch. But when home-plate umpire Tim Welke did not grant it, Morrison reset himself and hit Francisco's 92-mph fastball back up the middle. It struck the pitcher on the flesh near the base of his right pinkie, prompting him to clutch his hand in pain as he walked off the field.
"It swelled up pretty fast and pretty big," Mets manager Terry Collins said.
This has been an injury-riddled summer for Francisco, who reported to Spring Training as the Mets' incumbent closer. Losing that job when it became clear that he was not yet recovered from offseason surgery to remove a bone spur from his elbow, Francisco proceeded to spend the next five months rehabbing back to health. He finally made his season debut Sept. 8 in Cleveland, but gave up three combined runs over his next two outings.
"I don't know if I can sleep tonight," Francisco said when asked about his frustration level. "It's something that I can't even explain. I just hope that it goes away soon and I'll be able to throw as soon as possible."
Francisco, who will be a free agent after this season, made $6.5 million this year in the second half of a two-year, $12 million deal.
Wright could return as early as Tuesday
NEW YORK -- Still determined to return to the Mets before the end of this season, third baseman David Wright could realize that goal as soon as Tuesday.
Manager Terry Collins said he will meet with Wright and his training staff prior to Tuesday's series opener against the Giants, to "decide where we're at." Though Wright cautioned that a Tuesday return might be "optimistic," he added that "I like to be optimistic."
"It's kind of a day-by-day type thing, and I think that there's still some more I need to accomplish before I play in a game," Wright said. "It's difficult for me to say, because I'd like to play. I think we, as players and coaches, tend to want to get on the field sooner than probably the medical staff and the doctors would like."
Continuing what has now been a six-week rehab from a strained right hamstring, Wright took live batting practice Saturday against bullpen coach Ricky Bones. He also progressed with baserunning drills, though admittedly at less than 100 percent.
For Wright, that is a significant part of the problem: try as they might, the Mets cannot simulate the adrenaline and intensity of Major League game conditions. So they will not know for sure how Wright will respond until he goes out and plays in a game.
"So the issue is, is he going to get hurt again?" Collins said. "So what do we do next spring? Do we not play him all spring, for fear going into the season that he might get hurt in a Spring Training game, that he might have an intercostal strain like he did this spring? Or reinjure the hamstring, a la Jose Reyes at times? This is a sport. This is a sport where people get hurt. You can't police it. You've got to do the best you can to get them in shape, and then let them go play."
With that in mind, Collins continued, Wright might as well play sooner rather than later. But while the third baseman echoed his manager's sentiment to some extent, he also cautioned that he would like to progress more in his rehab before appearing in a game.
What's clear is that barring further injury, Wright will return this season -- if not Tuesday, then almost certainly some point later next week.
"I think it's important on a number of different levels," Wright said of returning. "I play baseball for a living, so I need to play when I'm capable of playing. I've had that mindset my whole career, and that doesn't change whether you're in first place, last place. If I'm healthy enough to play, I want to play.
"It's important for the team, because we're trying to finish as strong as we can, even though we're in the situation that we are. And then for the fan base it's important, because people spend a lot of money for these tickets, and I want to go out there and try to put on a good show for them."
Familia back after Minor League rehab stint
NEW YORK -- Fresh off a championship with Class A Savannah -- his final stop on a two-week Minor League rehab assignment -- right-hander Jeurys Familia rejoined the Mets on Saturday morning at Citi Field.
Ranked as the Mets' 11th-best prospect, Familia had not been active since undergoing June 5 surgery to remove bone spurs and loose bodies from his right elbow. Now fully healthy, he should be able to log a few big league innings before proceeding on to Dominican Winter Ball. Familia will report to camp next spring as a leading bullpen candidate for the Mets.
"I wasn't scared," Familia said when asked if he thought surgery would end his season. "I just had to wait to see how I felt. I'm so excited. I was working hard down in Florida to try and get here."
Prior to surgery, Familia posted a 3.48 ERA over eight appearances with the Mets, earning his first career save May 3 in Atlanta. He pitched a scoreless inning Friday night in Savannah's 2-0 win over Hagerstown, which clinched the South Atlantic League championship.
"His velocity is great," manager Terry Collins said. "He threw the ball over the plate -- all the good signs. It's really a tribute to how hard the kid worked to get back, because we certainly didn't expect him back this year at all. He was determined to pitch again."