PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Mets starter Johan Santana threw off a mound at the team’s facility on Sunday, one day after general manager Sandy Alderson said the two-time Cy Young Award winner would need 10 more days to build up enough arm strength to pitch in an exhibition game.
“Maybe it was a pretty good motivational thing,” pitching coach Dan Warthen said.
According to manager Terry Collins, it absolutely was motivation for Santana.
“He’s (ticked) off,” Collins said. “He has every right to be.”
On Saturday, Alderson said Santana didn’t report to camp in pitching shape and is “less and less likely” to be ready for the team’s opener against San Diego on April 1. He also said Santana has no structural issues in his shoulder and that an MRI hasn’t taken place or been planned.
“We haven’t ruled out opening day, although given when he might get on the mound, it becomes less and less likely,” Alderson said. “But we haven’t given up on that notion yet and we’ll see where that takes us.”
Collins said he told Santana, “Don’t let this stuff get to you.”
“This is about getting you ready, and if it’s April 1, terrific,” Collins said of his conversation with the left-hander. “If it’s April 5, great. If it’s April 15, that’s the way it is. But it’s about you being able to run out there 30 times next summer.”
The two-time Cy Young Award winner didn’t pitch in the major leagues in 2011 following shoulder surgery, then went 6-9 with a 4.85 ERA in 21 starts last year, when he pitched the first no-hitter in Mets history on June 1 against St. Louis. Santana didn’t pitch after Aug. 17 because of lower back inflammation.
The 33-year-old left-hander did not throw much during the offseason, other than what Collins called “light tossing” in order to rest his arm and shoulder.
“I think there was an expectation when he came in that he would be ready to pitch, but I think that was his expectation, too,” Alderson said Saturday. “Regardless of the winter that he had, I don’t think there was disagreement, I don’t think there was a disappointment on our part or an acceptance on his part that that’s the way it would be. But it was clear over the first few days he wasn’t ready. So we’re going to get him ready.”
Santana gets $25.5 million this year in the final guaranteed season of his $137.5 million, six-year contract. The Mets hold a $25 million option for 2014 with a $5.5 million buyout.
“What’s spring training for?” an irked Santana said Sunday, according to the New York Daily News. “What’s practice? To get you better. That’s what I’m doing right now. That’s what I’m here for, and that’s what I’m going to do. That’s what I’m working on.”
Also on Sunday, outfielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis exited New York’s loss to Miami with a bruised left knee after stealing second in the seventh.
Nieuwenhuis will see a doctor about the knee on Monday, the Newark Star-Ledger reported.
“I feel alright,” Nieuwenhuis said, according to the Star-Ledger. “I can put weight on it. Other than that it felt the same as yesterday.”
Does Santana have a right to be peeved? Be heard in the comments…
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