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Yesterday, Frank Francisco said he is suffering from elbow inflammation.

He has been temporarily shutdown to help reduce the swelling.

1:45 pm: Terry Collins said today that it will be a while before Francisco again throws a baseball. Francisco is sore and has some swelling in his elbow. He is likely a couple of weeks behind in his recovery from off-season elbow surgery because he had a difficult and busy winter dealing with a significant death in his family.

Parnell looked Collins in the eye today and said, if needed, he will be ready to fill in for Francisco.

8:56 am: Bobby Parnell told reporters today that Collins called him last night to say he will be the team's closer on Opening Day in the event Francisco is not ready for the start of the season << click to tweet this.

He says his experience and limited success pitching the ninth inning at the end of last season will help him going in to 2013.

However, though he may end up putting a bit more pressure on himself than usual because he'll be "the last line of defense," "It's the same three outs," and he knows he can do the job.

Parnell said he appreciated Collins calling to talk with him, because he's wanted to be in an elite role like this since he started playing baseball as a kid.

[sny-accordion title="To read Matthew Cerrone's take on Parnell as closer, click here..."]

I'm OK with this. I think he's ready. He took small steps forward last year, not just in terms of performance, but also in his maturity, according to people close to the clubhouse. He was essentially the closer at the end of the year, but that was also against weaker competition. He still throws a too-straight fastball, but his command looked better and he used more off speed pitches from time to time. I'm hoping he learned a few things about himself last year that he can put to use in 2013. I'm hopeful, but skeptical he can do this job (in place of Francisco). The Mets need to know if he can step up, so it may as well start today...[/sny-accordion]

Tags: MetsBlog , Matthew Cerrone
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