Pregame: Santana pitches; Paulino back

September, 3, 2011
9/03/11
6:06
PM ET
For the first time since July 28, Johan Santana appeared in a minor league game Saturday. His line with Class A St. Lucie: 2 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 2 K, 0 BB. Santana threw 30 pitches (21 strilkes).

Santana is due to up his workload to three innings and 45 to 50 pitches next Friday in another minor league game. The location will be based on which Mets affiliate has a playoff game that day, with St. Lucie, Brooklyn and Savannah considerations.

Terry Collins said Santana still may very well appear in a major league game this season.

“All it would be is it would ease a lot of minds -- ours and his -- that’s he’s healthy instead of sitting all winter long and waiting to see what happens with his arm in spring training,” Collins said.

Still, the manager added that he is comfortable Santana will be healthy in 2012, so it’s not essential the southpaw logs innings in the majors this year.

Said Collins: “A while ago I was really pretty much set at, ‘Hey, look, I think it would be great for you to pitch so we can have an idea.’ But I know he’s feeling so much better again. I’m pretty confident that even if he doesn’t pitch this year for us, he’ll come to spring training ready.”

Collins is not enthusiastic about Santana potentially appearing in winter ball, but that is far from set anyway. The manager will speak with Santana early next week, when Santana is in Miami to visit as the Mets play the Marlins.

“That would only be because he wants to face some hitters, and he wants to make sure his shoulder is OK,” Collins said about winter ball. “I don’t think there’s a lot of value in it. I concern myself sometimes with the condition of the mounds. Certainly he would dictate down there in the winter-ball situation when he’s going to pitch and how much he’s going to pitch. I’d caution him to make sure he’s in the right spot if he wanted to do something like that.”

Like Santana, Ike Davis will be with the Mets in Miami for the series. Assistant GM John Ricco said there have been no issues related to Davis’ ankle relayed to him through two days of the first baseman's modest baseball activities in Port St. Lucie.

“If he can take a week of that, we’re pretty confident he won’t need the surgery,” Ricco said.

HEIGHTY ISSUE: When left-hander Daniel Herrera struck out Jonny Gomes to end Friday’s game, he became the shortest player ever to represent the Mets -- at least according to heights entered into baseballreference.com’s database.

Herrera is listed at 5-foot-6.

The other diminutive Mets, in ascending order: Ricky Otero (1995), Sergio Ferrer (1978-79) and Yogi Berra (1965) at 5-7; and Willie Collazo (2007), Raul Gonzalez (2002-03), Desi Relaford (2001), John Cangelosi (1994) and Frank Estrada (1971) at 5-8. Willie Harris checks in among the 5-9 group.

TOE JAM: Ronny Paulino realizes he will be dealing with pain, but is reasonably confident he can get through Saturday night’s start behind the plate with a broken right big toe. Paulino is making his first catching appearance in a game since Aug. 22. He will wear a toe guard attached to the end of his shin guard.

“I’ve played with injuries before -- never anything like this,” Paulino said. “We’ll see through nine innings how it feels.”

Paulino has been working on the side to test the toe.

“He’s been doing a lot of squatting,” Collins said. “My concern is going to be, I told him, ‘You haven’t squatted down 200 times yet in a row.’ So we’ll see how he is.”

FREE REIN: Collins said Saturday night starter Dillon Gee is not going to be on any strict pitch count or innings limit as the season draws near the close. Gee is at 133 2/3 innings.

Collins said as a longtime member of the Dodgers organization, he was taught that a general rule for a young pitcher's workload is 10 innings for every year the player is old, including spring-training workload. In Gee’s case, that would be 250 innings allowed, since he is 25 years old.

“Those guys are quite short of that,” Collins said about his young pitchers, including Gee.

DAY OF REST: Collins will chat with Jose Reyes about giving the shortstop Sunday’s matinee in D.C. off, but the respite may not occur. It will partly depend on Ruben Tejada’s availability to return from a hand injury. Plus, Collins said, Reyes may not need the time off.

“If he doesn’t get on, if he doesn’t run much tonight, there’s not that much fatigue on his legs,” Collins said.
Adam Rubin has covered the Mets since 2003. He's a graduate of Mepham High School on Long Island and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He joined ESPNNewYork after spending 10 years at the New York Daily News.
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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Bartolo Colon
WINS ERA SO IP
11 3.85 125 161
OTHER LEADERS
BAD. Murphy .297
HRL. Duda 22
RBIL. Duda 66
RD. Murphy 69
OPSL. Duda .830
ERAZ. Wheeler 3.49
SOZ. Wheeler 145