Saturday, March 9, 2013
Mets to Johan: Do it your way ... but slow
By Adam Rubin
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Johan Santana spent Saturday indoors, getting extra treatment and working on shoulder flexibility, rather than participating in morning workouts with fellow pitchers.
Terry Collins said Santana has no "discomfort," but the southpaw undoubtedly is experiencing arm "fatigue."
Collins suggested the development was not a setback, but the manager seemed to back off hope of getting Santana in Thursday's Grapefruit League game against the Detroit Tigers, which had been the private aim.
"Right now it's day to day with Johan," Collins said. "We certainly would hope for something next week. But if it's not, it's not. Part of our conversation is, he's ready when he's ready."
Said pitching coach Dan Warthen: "I finally went to him and said, 'You know, if we're pushing things, then let's go ahead and go at your pace. Don't look at my chart. You tell me what you want.'"
Santana probably needs three starts to be ready for season, so missing Thursday's action would all but disqualify him for Opening Day. Santana would need to get up to 90 pitches in a game in Port St. Lucie before being ready for regular-season duty, according to Warthen.
Collins made it sound like opening the season on the DL and being activated for an April 7 start against the Miami Marlins -- the first time the Mets need a fifth starter -- is a very plausible option for Santana. DL stints may be backdated into spring training by nine days, provided the player does not appear in a Grapefruit League game during that span.
That means that while Jeremy Hefner should come north with the team, he may not get a start if Santana is ready to be activated the first day he would be eligible.
Warthen said Santana's continued arm fatigue is not related to the southpaw rushing onto the mound after negative publicity.
"That following day he felt great," Warthen said. "He got out there and threw hard again."
Said Collins: "Last week, because of his displeasure for what was going on, what was being said, he sort of rushed things. And so I said, 'We're going to go back to the pace we're comfortable with.'"