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Collins With Francesa: Mets To ‘Gear Up’ Parnell For Closer Role

Bobby Parnell (credit: Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

Bobby Parnell (credit: Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

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NEW YORK (WFAN) – It looks like there will be a new ninth-inning man in Queens.

Bobby Parnell will start the season as the Mets’ closer if Frank Francisco isn’t ready to go.

“Right now, Frankie Francisco is not going to be able to throw for awhile,” Mets manager Terry Collins told WFAN host Mike Francesa. “His elbow is still swelled up from the surgery. This is between you and me right now, I tell ya, because I haven’t talked to anybody else. But tomorrow I’m gonna go to Bobby Parnell and tell him that he’s gonna be the guy we’re gonna gear up to pitch the ninth inning.”

Collins agreed with Francesa that it is time to give Parnell — who first appeared with the Mets in 2008 — a shot.

“I think so, I think you’re right,” Collins said. “He showed last year that he’s made huge strides … Not just with his stuff, (but) with his command, his presence on the mound. His confidence when he’s on the mound was really, really improved.”

“I am the closer,” Francisco told the New York Post from the team’s training complex in Port St. Lucie, Fla. last week.

Collins sided with his right-hander at the time.

“He is the closer,” Collins told the Post.

As for Parnell?

“He’s the future,” Collins said.

Well, Parnell is now the present. And it appears Francisco will be in for a rude awakening if he can’t get healthy.

Francisco went 1-3 with 23 saves and a 5.53 ERA in 2012, his first season with New York. He battled elbow issues in September, only appearing in six games. Parnell pitched in 15 games that month to the tune of a 0.60 ERA.

Francisco, who had surgery in December to remove a bone spur from his pitching elbow, declared himself “ready to go” for the start of the season last week. That doesn’t seem too likely at this juncture.

Parnell appeared in 74 games for New York last season, recording a 2.49 ERA with seven saves and a 1.24 WHIP. The 28-year-old struck out 61 and walked 20 in 68 2/3 innings pitched, allowing four home runs.

Are you happy that Parnell will have the ball in the ninth inning, Mets fans? Is he a better option than Frankie? Sound off with your thoughts in the comments section below…