- Adam Rubin, ESPN Staff Writer
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After discussions among various Mets officials, Johan Santana will proceed with his next scheduled start, Thursday afternoon against the Rockies.
Terry Collins said Santana will be on a strict but unspecific pitch-count limit at a number less than 100. The manager added that the Mets reserve the right to shut down Santana after any upcoming start to avoid overdoing it in his first season after missing a year due to shoulder surgery.
New York Mets
"I felt that I want to compete, keep pitching," Santana said. "Obviously we're going to go one game at a time and see how everything goes."
GM Sandy Alderson sounded like Santana very well could be shut down after rosters expand Sept. 1 -- with the Mets either returning to a five-man rotation or using a call-up at that point. Alderson added that the six-man rotation was designed in part to protect Santana as well as Chris Young.
"It's going to be start to start," Collins said. "We're going to take a look and certainly analyze where we are, what we're doing, what we're getting out of it, what he's getting out of it and make a continued decision as we go."
Said Alderson: "We think Johan is good for another start or two minimum."
Collins said Santana advocated continuing to pitch because he did not want to seem like he was bailing and cashing a paycheck, so the pitch-count limit was a sensible middle ground for now.
Santana threw his typical between-starts bullpen session Monday afternoon at Citi Field.
Collins said Santana is healthy in terms of his shoulder, but added that he does have unalarming back stiffness as well as some residual crankiness in the right ankle that had sent him to the DL.
"There's is nothing really physical -- outside of why we disabled him the first time," Collins said. "His arm is fine. His shoulder is fine. His ankle is fine. You know, does his ankle still bother him? Yeah, it might on certain pitches. It may covering first. That's one of those ankle-sprain things that doesn't go away for three months anyway. I've had a million of them. But he's taped up. He's fine. He's ready to go. He's got a little stiffness in his back that's a minor thing that has come out after just working. He's fine."
Said Santana: "We're in this together. It's not just what I'm thinking or what they're thinking. We have come a long way, and we know that. And I'm very happy with everything that I've been able to accomplish. Even though I've been struggling lately, that doesn't mean you can't see positive around everything that I have done. Definitely I know I'm pitching Thursday, and we'll go from there. We'll see exactly what the next step will be."