Francisco was scratched from his last two outings because of soreness in the area. Even though Francisco has only made two appearances this Spring, Blue Jays manager John Farrell is optimistic he will be ready by Opening Day.
"Frankie again reported today feeling improved," Farrell said. "We feel like Saturday is a day to shoot (for) to get a bullpen in with him that will put him in line to get in a game on the 22nd.
"If that all goes according to plan, he'll get those four appearances remaining in camp that we've targeted as a satisfactory or minimal numbers in camp."
Francisco joins fellow veteran right-hander Octavio Dotel as the two pitchers who are somewhat questionable for Opening Day. Dotel was scratched from his two scheduled outings this week because of soreness in his left hamstring muscle.
The Blue Jays could opt to have both relievers throw in Minor League games prior to the start of the season. If either pitcher requires time on the 15-day disabled list, the club could backdate the starting time to March 22nd unless they appear in a Grapefruit League game after that date.
If Toronto decides to go in that direction Farrell said it would not impact either pitcher's chances of making the club at the start of the season.
"If they only pitch in Minor League games that wouldn't be a deterent for us to say they're not ready," Farrell said. "We feel like in both cases they're going to get the right amount of intensity in those situations that will give us a clear read whether they're going to be ready to go on Opening Day or not."
The one thing the Blue Jays won't do is wait for both right-handers to be ready to pitch on back-to-back days. The club has the luxury of having Jon Rauch, Jason Frasor and Shawn Camp available to pitch in late-inning situations, which allows each pitcher more time to rest.
"I don't think we can do that," Farrell said of the back-to-back days. "There's just limited time left on the calendar. The fortunate thing is if they don't we have enough options to pitch in the back end of the bullpen."
"We have the ability to go every other day in the early part of the season until a game dictates that we've got to back-to-back, which by then they would have additional appearances to build up."