LAKELAND, Fla. -- Right-handed reliever Frank Francisco pitched off a mound Sunday for the first time since reporting to Spring Training.

Francisco, who threw approximately 20 pitches at the Mets' facilities in Port St. Lucie, Fla., has battled elbow inflammation since arriving at camp. The 33-year-old closer underwent surgery in December to remove bone spurs in the same elbow.

"I actually heard he threw very well," manager Terry Collins said after Sunday's session.

Though Sunday's activity marked a positive step in the rehab process, Francisco remains likely to open the season on the disabled list. The veteran reliever is coming off a disappointing debut season with the Mets, posting a career-worst 5.53 ERA while injuries limited him to 42 1/3 innings over 48 appearances.

Bobby Parnell, who has yet to allow an earned run over six innings entering Monday, will continue to fill in as the team's closer.

Valdespin OK after unfortunate hit-by-pitch

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Monday's game couldn't have started any better for Jordany Valdespin as the utility player crushed a leadoff home run off Tigers ace Justin Verlander.

Unfortunately, it couldn't have ended much worse.

Valdespin left the game in the fifth inning after being hit in the groin with a 94-mph Verlander fastball, but he said he was feeling fine after being checked out by Tigers team doctors.

"I'm good. Everything is fine," Valdespin said. "The doctor said there's nothing bad, everything is good."

Luckily for Valdespin, it doesn't seem as if the incident will force him to miss any time as he continues to battle for one of the club's final roster spots.

"I'm doing my job, and we'll see what happens," said Valdespin, who finished the day 1-for-2 with the homer and hit-by-pitch. "Just keep playing hard every day in the field and see what happens. The only thing I can do is play hard like I'm doing right now, so we'll see what happens on April 1. I can't do anything more."

Wright's impact felt as Team USA advances

LAKELAND, Fla. -- David Wright is returning to Florida, but the third baseman won't be rejoining the Mets just yet.

With Team USA's victory Sunday against Canada, Wright and his United States teammates avoided elimination and advanced to the second round of the World Baseball Classic. So instead of being back in camp with the Mets on Tuesday, Wright will be at Marlins Park, where Team USA will take on Puerto Rico in its second-round opener at 8 p.m. ET.

Wright continued to make an impact for the United States in Sunday's victory, going 1-for-2 with three walks and three runs. One of those runs was the go-ahead tally in the eighth inning that gave the U.S. a lead it would not relinquish.

In three first-round games, Wright hit .455 (5-for-11) and led Team USA in both RBIs (five) and runs scored (four). He also hit the club's only home run and drew a team-best three walks.

The second round of the Classic operates in a double-elimination format, meaning Wright will play at least two more games with Team USA.