Santana gets ready for rotation return

Mets lefty Johan Santana feels "good" as he prepares to return from the disabled list. The lefty is scheduled to pitch Saturday against Atlanta after missing the past few weeks with a right ankle sprain.

"I was able to recover and do my things, and (I'm) definitely happy to be back and be around these guys again," Santana said Tuesday. "(I'm) getting ready for my next outing."

The Mets placed Santana on the disabled list on July 21 and he is eligible to come off at any point. July had been a particularly brutal month for the veteran as he had gone 0-3 with a 13.50 ERA, allowing 28 hits in just 12 2/3 innings.

The lefty pitched three scoreless innings in a rehab appearance with the Brooklyn Cyclones on Sunday and allowed just one hit. He threw a combined 90 pitches by tossing in the bullpen afterward and seemed pleased with what he accomplished.

Santana is 6-7 with a 3.98 ERA in 19 starts and is scheduled to throw a bullpen Wednesday.

"It was good. Again, it was all about feeling good and feeling 100 percent from top to bottom," Santana said. "I was able to get my ankle some rest and rehab but at the same time my whole body rest(ed) and I worked out. I felt good. It's definitely something we're going to see how it goes once I start pitching again."

JOHNSON OUT: Backup righty catcher Rob Johnson, who has a bruised right hand, is sitting Tuesday night despite Miami pitching a lefty. Starter Josh Thole is behind the plate.

Manager Terry Collins talked to doctors and decided to give Johnson the night off. Johnson said his hand is fine and there has been no setback, and he's listed as day-to-day.

"Doctors have said he can certainly catch and throw, it might hurt him to bat, but he is playable," Collins said.