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Terry Collins: Frank Francisco 'is the closer'

Terry Collins has confirmed that Frank Francisco is the Mets' closer.

Jeff Griffith-US PRESSWIRE

It was recently reported that the New York Mets are hesitant to enter the regular season with veteran reliever Frank Francisco penciled in as the team's closer. However, Francisco believes he will be the closer, and manager Terry Collins backed this with his own vote of confidence, reports Kevin Kernan of The New York Post.

Collins has no doubts that Francisco is the team's closer, and he says the Mets learned last year that when the big reliever is "right, he is good." Collins adds that Francisco "looks good," and feels he's in the "right frame of mind."

The issue came last season when Francisco wasn't "right." While he's been effective in late-inning situations over his career, he struggled to the tune of a 5.53 ERA in his first year as New York's closer.

This reportedly had the team searching for potential replacement options, with names such as Jose Valverde and even Francisco Rodriguez being tossed around. New York did sign Brandon Lyon today, perhaps boosting the late-inning experience of their bullpen in case the sub-par production from Francisco continues in 2013.

While he believes he'll be ready for the start of the regular season, Francisco still has a ways to go before he is ready to pitch off the mound. The 33-year-old is coming off a Dec. 18 procedure during which his elbow was cleaned out. He says he feels better and Kernan notes the right-hander appears to be in much better shape than last season.