LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Bobby Parnell wrapped up his dominant spring Monday by throwing three scoreless innings in an 8-2 win over the Braves at Champion Stadium.
Parnell started the "bullpen game" and allowed just two hits while striking out two of the 10 batters he faced over his three innings of work. Assuming Parnell won't pitch in either of the Mets' two Grapefruit League games against the Yankees, he will finish the spring without having allowed a run. In all, Parnell allowed seven hits and two walks while striking out eight over 12 1/3 innings.
The right-hander was scheduled to throw 40 pitches Monday -- he needed three full innings to get to 39 -- to help him acclimate to a more versatile role in the bullpen. Parnell struggled as a starter in 2009 and didn't quite take to the closer position last season, but he is happy with his current role in the Mets' relief corps.
"We asked him to do a lot of things last year," manager Terry Collins said. "At the end, obviously with his stuff, we think he's got a future as a closer, so we put him in that role [last year] to get a taste of it. At times, he had a tough time. At other times, he pitched very, very well. He's come into this Spring Training and has been throwing the ball great."
"I feel like obviously [Frank Francisco's] got the ninth. [Manny] Acosta or [Jon] Rauch has probably got the eighth. Maybe the seventh or somewhere around there, but just wherever they call," Parnell added. "When we get there, I'll just start pitching. Wherever they call me, they call me."
Known for hitting triple digits with his four-seam fastball, Parnell has been working in more two-seamers this spring in an effort to keep the ball down in the strike zone. He said he hasn't been worrying about his velocity, but he does believe he's getting stronger and could "let it go" if he wanted to. That two-seamer was working especially well for Parnell on Monday, and it helped him close out a strong spring with another convincing performance.
"He's been very impressive," Collins said. "I think he came in to show everybody he's a good pitcher."
Francisco to have MRI on sore left knee
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Frank Francisco's left knee is "a little bit of a concern," manager Terry Collins said, after the Mets closer told reporters in Port St. Lucie that he would have an MRI on Monday.
Francisco had his left knee drained Sunday and played long toss at the Mets' Spring Training facility on Monday. Francisco indicated to reporters that this is not the first time the knee has been an issue this spring.
The big right-hander has had a rough spring on the mound, posting a 5.54 ERA in 13 innings over 11 games. He has given up 18 hits and four walks with only seven strikeouts.
"Early in camp, I felt a little sore in there, and it went away," Francisco told reporters in Port St. Lucie. "In the last three days, I felt soreness in there again, but that's it. We're going to take care of that. I did my workout and everything, and it felt fine, but they're going to take a look at it."
Collins said Francisco's knee was bothersome during his rough performance against the Marlins on Saturday, when he allowed two runs on five hits and a walk in two innings. Francisco offered much of the same in Port St. Lucie, saying it was fine in his first inning, then "got cold a little bit" when he sat on the bench between innings and felt like it was swelling.
"It's been bothering him all spring," Collins said. "We thought it was getting better. He wanted to pitch through it. There were some days it didn't bother him very much. The other day, when he threw the two innings, it stiffened up on him. The next day, it was irritating him a little bit, so we had him checked, and we'll see where we are."
Francisco told reporters in Port St. Lucie that he wasn't worried about having to spend time on the disabled list. But the Mets have a few options at closer if they are unable to use Francisco, who signed a two-year, $12 million deal this winter to join the Mets' revamped bullpen.
Setup man Jon Rauch has closing experience, and Ramon Ramirez was one of the better relievers in the National League during his last season and a half with the Giants. There's also Bobby Parnell, who struggled in that role last year but has been untouchable this spring.
David Wright had seven plate appearances in a Minor League intrasquad game Monday. He went 1-for-6 with a walk and a stolen base.
Andres Torres (strained left calf) also appeared in that Minor League intrasquad game, playing nine innings in center field, going 0-for-7 with two walks and scoring from first base on a double.
"I feel good right now," Torres told reporters at the Mets' complex in Port St. Lucie. "And I'm going to be ready for the season."