Closer Frank Francisco said he is pitching with a “sting” in his elbow and a bout of inflammation as he works his way back from offseason surgery. Francisco threw his third bullpen session Saturday, pushing himself to 31 pitches and throwing his fastball and curve at “about 80%” strength.

Francisco, 33, feels he is two bullpen sessions away from throwing batting practice for the first time this spring. That timetable makes it a strong possibility that he will begin the season on the disabled list.

Since his elbow doesn’t feel quite right, Francisco said he would rather take the time to get healthy now.

“It’s not like sharp pain, but I feel like it’s not 100%,” Francisco said. “It only happens when I try to push more than what I have (done) before. Last time I was throwing 70%, maybe. I feel soreness. Today, I went more than 70%, but it feels the same. I feel like I am improving.”