Frank Francisco has recovered from the left oblique strain that cost him all of July, and upset the flow of the Mets' bullpen during their worst month of the season.

But he is not fully healthy. Not yet.

He returned before tonight's game with the Padres. His oblique felt fine, he explained, during his five rehabilitation appearances with Double-A Binghamton. But he developed soreness in his right latissimus dorsi (lat) muscle in his back. He experiences tightness after he pitches. Francisco strained the same muscle with Texas in 2010.

"It's something that I hope goes away pitching," he said. "I'm going to pitch through it. And hope it goes away."

Is he ready for big-league action?

"Let's see tonight," Francisco said.