MLB: Mets Closer Stirs Yankees, Leonys Martin Could Stick Around & More

Subway Series Stirred Up By Francisco's Comments

Frank Francisco added some juice to the second  inter-league series of the season between the New York Mets and the New York Yankees when the reliever called the Yankees “chickens” in a report that appeared in the New York Post on Friday.

Francisco, who was placed on the disabled list due to a strained left oblique before the third game of the Subway Series last night.  He told reporters, “I can't wait to strike out those chickens. I want to strike out the side against them. I've done it before.”

The  Mets closer faced the Yankees on Friday night and closed out the 6-4 win despite leaving the tie-run on base. He told reporters that he didn't feel any pain during the outing after sealing the victory.

Francisco, who is in the first year of a two-year deal he signed in the offseason, has appeared in 31 games and is 1-3 with 18 save in 21 chances. His absence is a blow to a bullpen that has the highest ERA in the majors.

So who'll step in for Francisco who was at the receiving end of jokes from his teammates.

They played as many songs as they could find with chicken references and went as far as buying a chicken and letting it lose in the clubhouse --later sending it to a farm before last night's game.

Bobby Parnell could very well get first dibs at closer but he has not taken hold of the closer role despite many opportunities presented to him. Jon Rauch has closed before, but his six loses put him in a tie for most loses by a reliever in the majors. Miguel Batista has worked the eight inning role as off late, and he too could be considered.

With Francisco on the disabled list for 15 days, Ramon Ramírez was called up from Triple-A Buffalo where he was on a rehab assignment but where he struggled.

For a Mets team whose bats lack power to score many runs, Francisco's loss comes at the wrong time. The Mets are just 3 1-2 games behind the Washington Nationals in the NL East.

The good news for the Mets was that Ruben Tejada made his return to the lineup and had two hits.

Can Martin Claim Outfield Job In Texas?

With a hamstring injury to Mitch Moreland that sent him to the disabled list last Wednesday, Leonys Martin could see plenty of action for the Texas Rangers over the next two weeks.

Called up the previous weekend as an insurance policy for Josh Hamilton who was battling an intestinal virus, the 24-year-old started in centerfield last night and left his fingerprints on Texas' win.

He had two hits and drove in three runs and scored one.

Coming into last night's game he was 1-for-8.

The Cuban defector signed a $15.5 million, five-year deal in May 2011 with the Rangers last year.

Does Martin have anything left to prove in the minors is the question that the Rangers will have to ask themselves if Martin can carry over his offensive production from Triple-A Round Rock to the big league level. In 31 games he hit .344 with five home runs and drove in 21 runs. His on-base percentage was an eye-popping .414.

Rangers manager Ron Washington told reporters he was content with the way Martin played but that he still need to learn the normal things that young players work on as they establish themselves in the majors.

“It's the other parts of the game we're trying to work on: base running, defenses, situations, throwing to the right bag.” Washington said.

June Not Kind To Marlins As They Stop Losing Streak

Maybe the Marlins wished they were still playing ball in the month of May as they went 21-8 with seven straight wins.

June has not been good to them as the Marlins have just won three of their last 18 games and five of their last 21.

In the midst of what a few days later became Miami's second, six-game losing streak of the month, Ozzie Guillen joked that he would have to drink “seven Presidente's and a sleeping pill to be ready for tomorrow” after  he was questioned about the Marlins' play in a 15-5 beating that wrapped up a three-game sweep at Boston on Wednesday.

The Marlins finally snapped out of their funk with a  9-0 win over the Toronto Blue Jays yesterday to avoid a three-game sweep on the heels of a players-only meeting.

"I already had one last week. I look like (President) Obama, having a meeting every day. I'm not that type of manager,” Guillen said.

Guillen admitted that he wasn't a fan of such get togethers after that loss but he felt that the meeting led by Hanley Ramírez was “something positive” by the way the players performed.

Cubs Get Soto Back Behind The Plate

The Chicago Cubs might be 24-48, in last place in the NL Central and basically out of the playoff race with three months to go in the season unless a miracle occurs in the North Side.

The good news this week for the Cubs was the return of Geovany Soto, who underwent arthroscopic surgery in his left knee.

Soto was activated from the disabled list on Monday after he spent some time in the minors and his torn meniscus was repaired. He's gone 4-for-15 with a pair of homers since coming back.