The New York Mets claimed that their ace Johan Santana was not injured when they decided to push his Grapefruit League debut back to mid-March. The team reportedly pushed back Santana’s first start because the left-handed veteran needs to rebuild his arm strength, after ending last season on the disabled list. Although Santana has been throwing from flat ground rather than a pitching mound, Mets manager Terry Collins believes that his best pitcher is right on schedule.
Santana, a two-time Cy Young Award winner, was once the most dominant pitcher in baseball. However, since joining the Mets in 2008, he has had trouble staying off of the disabled list. When he has been healthy, he has not been the same pitcher he once was, even though he threw the Mets’ first ever no-hitter last season.
The Mets are being cautious with their ace and hope he will start on Opening Day. Santana will likely have to pitch by March 12 if New York hopes to get him four spring-training starts before the regular season. If he is not ready in the next few weeks, he could be on the disabled list to start the season. New York would likely use long reliever Jeremy Hefner or Triple-A Buffalo starter Collin McHugh to temporarily replace him in the rotation.
Collins is confident that his ace will be ready to pitch in a few weeks. The team hopes he will as well because Santana is set to make $25.5 million in the final year of his contract this season and is the most important part of their rotation.