Francisco remains unavailable as closer
Fireballer admits he may have come off the DL too soon
ARLINGTON -- Frank Francisco, still unavailable as the Rangers' closer because of a strained right shoulder, admitted Wednesday that he might have come off the disabled list too soon."Maybe," Francisco said while sitting at his locker before the Rangers' game with the Blue Jays. Then he thought about it. "Yeah," Francisco said. Francisco was not available as Texas' closer Wednesday, and he doesn't expect to be ready in the finale of a four-game set against Toronto on Thursday. He is taking a medicine-dose pack and still needs more time for the shoulder to settle down. "It's getting better," Francisco said. "Every time I throw, I feel better. I'm just going to keep doing what I'm doing. Hopefully, I'll be ready soon. It could be another two or three days. Who knows." Francisco was on the 15-day disabled list from May 7-21 with biceps tendinitis. He has made five appearances since then, going 3-for-3 in save opportunities. But he also gave up his first run of the season when Oakland's Adam Kennedy hit a game-winning home run off him May 31. Francisco has not pitched since last Wednesday in New York, when he saved a 4-2 victory over the Yankees by setting down the side in order. "The first time I pitched [after coming off the disabled list], I felt great," Francisco said. "After that day, I started getting worse and worse. I pitched in New York, then the next day that's when I really started feeling it." Manager Ron Washington said the Rangers have not seriously discussed putting Francisco on the disabled list yet. But that time could be coming. "We can't keep going short like this," Washington said. "That's why we're hoping Francisco will be ready to go." Washington said Francisco is still the Rangers' closer when he is healthy, but he doesn't know when that will be. C.J. Wilson has served as closer when Francisco has been unavailable, and the bullpen has held up for the most part during Francisco's absence. "I don't think it has affected us as much as [Matt] Harrison and [Brandon] McCarthy being out of the rotation and not having [Josh] Hamilton out there," Washington said. "Those guys at the back end of the bullpen have picked us up. That part has gone smoothly."
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.