Bobby Parnell was exactly where he wanted to be Monday afternoon. The Mets’ righthanded reliever was given the ball in the ninth inning of a one-run game. Don’t tell the 28-year-old with the tantalizing fastball that spring training games are meaningless. This spring, Parnell has used every opportunity, in games and in bullpen sessions, to show he has the mindset to be the Mets’ closer now and in the future. “I am comfortable with it. I am confident in my stuff; I believe I can get outs,” Parnell said Monday morning. “I am in a good place with it. This is what I want to do.” And, at least for now, Parnell is going to get those opportunities every day. With Frank Francisco’s rehabilitation from elbow surgery keeping him from spring training games, Parnell was told from the very beginning to prepare this spring to be the closer. Francisco just last week began throwing off the mound, but he is limited. Francisco admitted he still has a “sting” in the elbow when he throws and said he is not 100%, making it likely he will begin the season on the disabled list. Even healthy, however, Francisco was not exactly dominant in the role. Signed to a two-year, $12 million deal, Francisco had a shaky, injury-plagued first season with the Mets in 2012. He had a 5.53 ERA with 23 saves and three blown saves. In 42.1 innings, Francisco put 68 men on base. That is enough to make a manager look around for another closer — one like Parnell, whose fastball is consistently around 96 mph.
Parnell getting comfortable in closer role, ready to take
New York Daily News | Mar 20