No spot starter planned for Johan

Johan Santana has benefited from extra rest before all of his regular-season starts so far because of team off-days, including with tonight's start in Atlanta.

Johan Santana

Johan Santana

#57 SP
New York Mets

2012 STATS

  • GM2
  • W0

  • L1

  • BB5

  • K13

  • ERA0.90

Because the Mets are off Thursday, Santana again will be afforded that extra day before facing Madison Bumgarner in Monday's finale to a four-game series against the San Francisco Giants at Citi Field.

The training wheels should come off after that, though.

Terry Collins floated during spring training the idea of using a spot starter on April 28 in Denver and using Santana the following day, so Santana could continue the pattern of working every sixth day. However, Collins indicated Tuesday, he is now inclined to just let Santana pitched on the fifth day against the Rockies -- unless Santana somehow does not feel up to the task as the April 28 outing nears.

By having five rather than the standard four days of rest between starts so far, Santana has been able to be virtually idle the day after his starts, giving his surgically repaired shoulder more time to recuperate before again revving up.

Andres Torres, who has been on the disabled list since reinjuring his left calf on Opening Day, will not start testing the muscle by sprinting for another week, according to Collins. Torres worked on outfield drills in Port St. Lucie today, but is not going full throttle. "I told them, 'This guy is not leaving there until this guy has absolutely sprinted at top speed,'" Collins said.

Asked if Torres would be handed the center field job upon his return, Collins didn't precisely answer, calling him "still an important part of the puzzle" and saying "we got him for a reason."

Bottom line: Unless Kirk Nieuwenhuis is performing at an ultra-high level, he's likely ticketed back to Triple-A Buffalo at that point. Collins is not going to want Nieuwenhuis riding the bench at the major league level as only a part-time contributor.

"You learn from playing," the manager said. "I watch a lot of golf. I stink."

• Collins reiterated his intention to give Ruben Tejada off for Wednesday's matinee.