The relief pitcher was left behind, his arm sequestered in Florida until it heals.

But Frank Francisco, the closer the Mets signed to a two-year, $12 million contract before the 2012 season, appears to be inching closer to a return to the big leagues.

Francisco played catch Monday and is expected to return to the mound Tuesday, manager Terry Collins said.

"Hopefully he’s in some games here in the next few days," Collins said before Tuesday night’s game between the Mets and Phillies at Citizens Bank Park.

Francisco underwent surgery in the off-season to remove bone chips from his elbow. With Francisco hurt, the Mets handed the closer’s job to Bobby Parnell. Even when he’s healthy enough to return, it’s unlikely Francisco would unseat Parnell.