Johan Santana and the New York Mets have not been on the same page this entire offseason. Santana desperately wanted to pitch for his native country of Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic, until the team strongly encouraged the often-injured veteran to sit the tournament out. Then the team removed Santana from their spring training rotation so he could build his arm strength, which frustrated the former Cy Young award winner, who thought he was ready to pitch. Now it seems as though Santana will not be ready for Opening Day in two weeks, as Jon Niese is slated to open the season on the mound for New York.
Santana ended last season on the disabled list and is still rehabbing a weak-pitching shoulder. Mets’ general manager Sandy Alderson stated two weeks ago that he did not believe that their left-handed ace came to spring training ready to pitch, which he claims was not an attack on Santana’s work ethic. However, Santana took the comments to heart and held a sudden bullpen throwing session off of a mound without the team’s knowledge as a reaction. While the team and Santana have reportedly settled their rift, Santana’s lingering injury does not bode well for their relationship.
The Mets acquired Santana in a blockbuster trade with the Minnesota Twins in 2008. Once the most dominant pitcher in the league, Santana has been inconsistent and injured for a good portion of his New York tenure and this spring is no different. It has become clear that he will not pitch Opening Day for the Mets, and without a timetable for his return one question still remains: When will Santana pitch this season?