Rangers to give Francisco the day off
Closer has pitched in four of the last five days
OAKLAND -- The Rangers are determined to give closer Frank Francisco the day off on Thursday.Manager Ron Washington said Francisco is unavailable for Thursday's game with the Athletics after he pitched in three straight games as well as four of the last five days. "He's going to have the day off," Washington said before the game. "He doesn't want it but he's going to get it. He told us he'd let us know when he can't go. Now we're telling him." Francisco has a Major League-leading nine saves and has pitched 14 2/3 scoreless innings over 14 appearances. He is tied for second with eight other pitchers for the most appearances in the American League. Toronto's Jesse Carlson, going into Thursday's game, was the leader with 15. Of those 10 pitchers with at least 14 appearances, Francisco is the only one who serves as his team's closer. Teammate C.J. Wilson also has 14 appearances. "How long do you think I was in Spring Training, seven weeks?" Francisco said. "No. I was down there for four months getting ready for this. I'm ready to go. I'm not tired." The Rangers weren't sure about using Francisco on Wednesday in the ninth inning of their 3-2 victory over the Athletics. But, after Derek Holland retired the Athletics in the eighth, Francisco started warming up for the ninth without being told. "He was telling us, 'I've got this game,'" Washington said. "He can get up today but he's not coming into the game. We need him for the rest of the year." Washington said he has no regrets about using Francisco in a non-save situation on Tuesday in the Rangers' 7-2 victory over the Athletics. Francisco came on with one on and one out in the 10th and faced three batters to finish the game. "The way Seattle can come back, I'm not letting that game get away," Washington said. "I wanted to tell them, there's no coming back today."
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.