In order to understand the frustration that New York Mets pitcher Johan Santana is going through, fans must first realize that he is one of the most pride-filled players in baseball. Santana wants desperately to be the opening day starter for the Mets. He also wants to be a difference maker on the field and in the clubhouse. But if stupid stunts are pulled like throwing an unscheduled session off the mound, then Santana might just do more harm than good.
On Sunday, after hearing rumblings from the front office about him not being in shape coming into spring training, Santana decided to take his fate into his own hands and get on a mound. Although there is no lingering structural damage to the shoulder that kept Santana out for the 2011 MLB season, GM Sandy Alderson has stated that it is “less and less likely” that he would be ready for opening day.
The amazing part of this whole situation is that manager Terry Collins, pitching coach Dan Warthen and Alderson did not even know that Santana got on the mound Sunday for a throwing session. This astounds me as that is their job to know what is going on at all times with their players.
Another facet is that no one in Mets land knew that Santana took a full off-season from even touching a baseball, instead of keeping himself in shape. The left-hander is scheduled to take another 10 days or so before he takes the mound, according to the plan set forth by Collins and his staff.
Whatever the reason for Santana to forgo that schedule–motivation, pride, determination, anger–clearly he cannot justify going against his managers’ wishes. Santana needs to swallow that pride, back off the mound and listen to what he is told to do. That is the only way he even has a possibility to be the opening day starter.
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