New York Mets reliever John Franco will miss 3-10 weeks with a partially torn tendon on the middle finger of his left hand.
Franco, 38, injured the finger in the ninth inning of a 16-0 loss to the Braves last Friday night at Shea Stadium. He underwent an MRI on Wednesday.
"I had no illusions of losing him for more than two weeks," Mets manager Bobby Valentine said. "I think of our bullpen as a group and obviously, there's a big hole in our group right now."
In 34 games this season, Franco was 0-2 with a 3.45 ERA and had converted on 19 of 20 save chances.
"Hopefully it will be about four weeks," Franco said. "The doctors have learned from having dealt with other pitchers. Right now, they're just trying to keep it (the finger) immobilized."
Franco, who has 416 career saves, was one of many Mets denied the chance to join catcher Mike Piazza at the All-Star game in Boston next week.
"Ironically, here we are talking about his injury and the All-Star selections," Valentine said. "I feel he was as deserving as anyone on our team."
Armando Benitez is expected to handle the full-time closer duties in Franco's absence. He has saved five games so far this season while striking out 49 in his last 27 innings.
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