Santana feels good; rotation set Sunday

Terry Collins plans to announce his 2012 rotation at some point on Sunday, after conferring with team officials.

After Johan Santana pronounced Saturday’s bullpen session -- which came five days after his last start -- a success, the expectation is Santana will be named the Opening Day starter. The only disruption should be if Santana shows up at the complex Sunday feeling discomfort.

Johan Santana

Starting Pitcher
New York Mets


“He was free and easy,” pitching coach Dan Warthen said about Saturday’s bullpen session, which included 39 warm-up pitches, then another 32 at game intensity. “The body didn’t ache. It hasn’t been the arm at any time. It’s been more the wear and tear on the body, getting it back in shape, and then being able to take the volume of pitches. Today he could have pitched very easily [in a game]. The body recovered really well yesterday.

"It’s been beat up a few days before, but yesterday it felt great and today. So this is the fifth day. He should be very happy. … He even said he could have pitched today. That’s a really good thing on the fifth day.”

Said Collins after surveying the session: “Obviously he’s healthy. His arm felt good. His body recuperated from the other day [an 88-pitch performance against the Cardinals on Monday]. We’ll meet tomorrow and make a decision where we’re headed. We’ll make something official tomorrow.”

Collins acknowledged Santana on Opening Day would mean a lot to the Mets. The manager did note, though, that it makes no sense to do something reckless if Santana arrives Sunday not feeling up to Thursday’s opener against the Atlanta Braves.

“I think it means a lot for lot of people -- even him,” Collins said about using Santana on Opening Day. “He’s worked so hard to get back, to be where he’s at. But I’m not going to sacrifice six months, I’m not going to sacrifice the last two years that he’s worked his butt off for one start, to have him pitch Opening Day. Tomorrow we’re going to sit down with a number of people involved and make the correct decision.

“If there’s any discomfort at all, he’s not pitching,” Collins continued. “We’ll pick another day. The same thing goes with any of those guys. It goes with David Wright. It goes with anybody else. I’m not going to sacrifice two or three days at the beginning of the season to lose a guy for three or four months like we did last year. We can’t recuperate from that.”