New York Mets ace Johan Santana threw 40 pitches during a pair of simulated innings for the first time since September of last year.
Santana missed all of the 2011 season after a torn anterior capsule in his left shoulder sidelined him in 2010. He had surgery on September 14, 2010 and pitched in the instructional league against minor league batters approximately a year later.
Santana says he feels good and is doing his best to return to the mound. Teammates David Wright, Ike Davis and Daniel Murphy seemed even more excited having Santana pitch batting practice to them.
It is a little early for Santana to get excited but he feels optimistic that he will be performing at a high-level once the season gets underway in a little over a month. Manager Terry Collins fully expects Santana to start the Mets home-opener against the Atlanta Braves on April 5.
“It’s just another spring training. That’s the way I’m approaching everything,” Santana said. “It’s just another spring training trying to get ready, doing the things I used to do, and don’t try to do anything crazy. … Today I was looking how my arm feels pitch after pitch with more intensity, and also how I recover from one inning to another more than anything. And being able to throw all my pitches is what I was looking for.”
He is expected to pitch two innings Tuesday against the St. Louis Cardinals. Pitching coach Dan Warthen said that Santana’s pitch count will be anywhere between 25-35 pitches.
“I’ll throw my two innings without any problem, and I’ll be able to come back for my next outing,” Santana said. “That’s what I’m looking for. That’s the process that I want to go through, build up from one start to another and see if I’m able to recover so I’m able to go back again five days later.”
Everyone from the fans to the players to the coaching staff are happy to see Santana on the mound doing his thing and are excited to see what he will bring to the team this season. Hopefully, injuries will not be a problem and he can help keep New York in contention.