The New York Mets don’t have a lot of things to look forward to (no offense, Met fans) in 2012. But after sitting out the entire 2011 season due to an arm injury, Johan Santana made his return to the Citi Field faithful, starting Opening Day against the Atlanta Braves.
Santana, 33, will make $24 million dollars this season, and will make $25.5 million the following season. The Mets have a team option for Santana in 2014 that will obviously be declined, unless they want to pay a 35-year old who has health concerns $25 million dollars.
It had to be a breathe of fresh air to Mets’ fans seeing Santana on the bump. He did have a decent Spring Training, but certainly wasn’t anything extraordinary. It was just encouraging that he made through Spring with no hiccups or snafus, allowing him to make the start today.
Mets’ manager, Terry Collins, said prior to the game Santana would have a pitch count of about 90 pitches. And Collins wasn’t bluffing, considering Santana only threw 84 pitches in 5 innings. But for someone who wanted to fully enjoy his newly purchased MLB.tv subscription, I wanted to keep tabs on Santana in his return, considering I thought he was one of the most interesting storylines heading into the Opening Day weekend.
After watching his performance, I was impressed with how well he looked. Granted, pitchers are ahead of the hitters at this point during the season, but Santana had pretty solid command on the mound. The thing I wanted to see out of Santana was his change-up. As all baseball fans know, Johan Santana has one of the most devastating change-ups in the game that can make any hitter look silly. I also wanted to see his velocity, since he is coming off an arm injury.
As far as velocity is concerned, he was topping out around 88, which isn’t terrible. But his change-up was still a force, making hitters look silly waiving at the 73-75 MPH pitch.
Overall, Santana pitched well in his five innings of work. He allowed two hits, two walks, and had five strikeouts.
Job well done, Johan.