Saturday, June 2, 2012
Mets eye Johan Santana rest days
By Mike Mazzeo
NEW YORK -- Mets left-hander Johan Santana said he "feels fine" on Saturday, a day after throwing a 134-pitch no-hitter, a first in the history of the franchise in its 8,020th game.
But the Mets, wanting to be cautious with Santana, who missed all of last season after undergoing shoulder surgery, have a plan in place where the 33-year-old would be pushed back a day or two, according to manager Terry Collins.
Santana's next start is scheduled for Wednesday. But he said he'd have no problem with starting on Thursday in Washington or on Friday in the Bronx against the Yankees.
"Definitely, the next couple days are going to be important to see how I recover," said Santana, who now has thrown back-to-back complete games. "To see when I'm gonna throw my bullpen, and if we have to take an extra day, there's nothing wrong with that."
Collins struggled with his decision to keep Santana, who was supposed to be on a pitch count of 115, in the game. But given that Santana was on the verge of making history, Collins said he wasn't going to pull him.
"My heart told me to take him out due to the fact that I'm playing with a huge piece of the organization. If this guy goes down, it'd be pretty drastic for us," Collins said. "But also, there was history in the making, and in the moment, he wasn't coming out. I wasn't gonna take him out."
Part of Collins was wishing Santana would give up a hit so he could take him out and wouldn't have to worry.
But after the game, owner Jeff Wilpon and general manager Sandy Alderson told their manager he'd made the right decision to leave him in.
"They told me, 'Don't beat yourself down over this. You made the right move,' " Collins said. "I appreciated their confidence in the move."
Collins also got a call from former St. Louis Cardinals skipper Tony La Russa on Saturday.
"He said, 'Look, you did the right thing,' " Collins said. "When it comes from those people, I feel a lot better about it."
After accomplishing the rare feat, Santana said he'd never thrown a no-hitter at any level -- even in a video game. So he wasn't about to take himself out.
"I never give up. I've been through a lot," Santana said. "And to have an opportunity like (Friday night), it was unbelievable. It might be once in a lifetime. You may spend your entire career and never have a chance to do it. And right when I had that opportunity, I was like there's no way that I'll come out."
Santana, one of three pitchers to throw a no-hitter this season along with Phil Humber and Jered Weaver, approached Collins after the game and gave him a hug.
"He said, 'I told you to trust me,' " Collins said. "And I said, 'Yeah, you did.' "
Collins joked that Saturday's starter, knuckleballer R.A. Dickey, would be on a pitch count of 130 against the Cardinals. Dickey needed only 100 pitches in a complete game 5-0 win, giving up seven hits with nine strikeouts.
Collins said that outfielder Mike Baxter, who slammed up against the wall after making a tremendous catch in left in the seventh inning Friday, suffered a displaced right collarbone next to his sternum and fractured rib cartilage, and is expected to miss up to six weeks
Fortunately, tests revealed that Baxter did not sustain a concussion.
"My left arm went numb, and they thought (my shoulder) was dislocated on the field," Baxter said. "And as the night progressed, the wall kind of pushed up against the right side of my chest, and that's where there was some compression."
"That tells you just how hard he hit the wall," Collins added.
Baxter, 27, who grew up a Mets fan in Queens, had been playing extremely well. He was batting .323 with 10 RBIs.
"We gotta take our time and let it heal itself, and hopefully it'll respond quickly," Baxter said.
"It's always tough to get hurt, especially with the way this team's playing. It's so fun to be a part of what's going on here."
Reliever Ramon Ramirez suffered a strained right hamstring diving into the celebration pile after Santana finished off his no-hitter.
Ramirez, 30, who is 2-1 with a 4.78 ERA in 22 appearances, is headed to the disabled list as well, Collins said.
No corresponding roster moves were announced.
Right-hander Chris Schwinden, who was designated for assignment by the Mets, was claimed off waivers by the Toronto Blue Jays, the team announced.
Shortstop Ruben Tejada, on the DL with a quad strain, will run on Saturday and run the bases on Sunday, Collins said.
Mike Mazzeo is a frequent contributor for ESPNNewYork.com.