New York Mets pitcher Johan Santana threw off a mound today for the first time in nearly two weeks, as he threw a bullpen session at the team’s spring training complex in Port St. Lucie, Florida. For Mets fans, it was a reminder that Santana is both still on the team, and that he is nowhere close to the pitcher he used to be.
At this point in the spring, most of the other starters in Mets camp have made at least two appearances in Grapefruit League games, but Santana is just now throwing off a mound after nearly a two-week absence. Even with a longer-than-usual spring training, Santana does not appear to be on track to make an opening day start for the Mets; and at this point, it may not be wise to force Santana onto a schedule that might rush him into being ready for opening day.
Members of the Mets brass have pontificated that perhaps Santana arrived to camp without his arm being in shape, implying that he was ill-prepared for spring training. But instead of pointing fingers at Santana, maybe they should just face the possibility that he is just not the pitcher that he used to be. At his age and with his long history of arm injuries, especially since coming to the Mets, Santana can’t get his arm geared up for the season the way he used to be able to do. Perhaps the Mets need to take a step back with Santana, and allow him to get ready on his own schedule without worrying about when spring training starts and when opening day is. Realistically, the Mets will be lucky to get anything out of Santana this season, and so they shouldn’t try to rush him or force him into doing anything that he’s not comfortable with or that could further jeopardize his season.