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Friday, March 22, 2013
Collins confirms Johan staying behind

By Adam Rubin

JUPITER, Fla. -- The worst-kept secret finally was acknowledged by Terry Collins on Friday: Johan Santana will not be ready to break camp with the Mets.

Santana has not been on a mound since March 6 because of a lack of shoulder strength.

“He’s not where he needs to be in his long-toss program,” Collins said. “Even if it’s next week, he’s not going to open with us. He’s going to have to get himself ready. And that’s going to certainly determine on a daily basis where he’s at. But we’ll be gone. I’ll have to monitor it by the phone.”

Collins said there is zero chance Santana, even on the DL, works with the Mets in New York. He will be based at the team's Port St. Lucie, Fla., complex until he is ready.

Jeremy Hefner will fill the rotation spot.

“Absolutely stay down here,” Collins said about Santana. “We don’t have the conditions up there for him to do what he needs to do. You’ve got a rainy day, a 40-degree day. And he’s going to get nothing out of it.”

As for the short-lived and unexpected decision to return to a mound two weeks ago, Collins said: "It's hard to say it was a setback. I just think he wanted to prove his arm was OK, that his arm was healthy. Instead of trying to make sure and not let all this other stuff bother him, he got angry about it. We needed to go back to step one again. At that particular time, that was his way of making sure everybody knew his shoulder was fine, that he wasn't hurt. It's just that he wasn't ready to pitch. So now we've got to get him ready to pitch.

"As I told him: 'I don't care about yesterday. I care about what we've got to do now.' We've got to move forward here. What happened six weeks ago has absolutely no bearing on what we need to do moving forward. So let's do it right."