Frank Francisco is scheduled to pitch for Double-A Binghamton today in New Britain, Conn., after getting a shot to relieve discomfort in his right knee. His return to Citi Field can't come soon enough for Mets manager Terry Collins.

"We need him back very badly," Collins said before last night's 5-2 loss to the Nationals. "Our bullpen has had a tough time and he's the one addition. You're trying to find bullpen help? We've got bullpen help. It's in-house. We've just got to get him back out there."

Francisco has been on the disabled list since June 23 with a left oblique strain and attributed the knee soreness to running.