Santana: Opening day start could be in jeopardy

Updated: February 28, 2009, 11:12 AM ET
Associated Press

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Mets ace Johan Santana says that his opening day start could be in jeopardy as he continues to battle tightness in his elbow.

"We have 162 games," Santana said on Saturday. "What we have to accomplish takes 162 games. Everything starts April 6, if it's going to be me or somebody else. It's tough to say right now."

Santana met with Mets general manager Omar Minaya and manager Jerry Manuel for about 40 minutes Saturday morning to discuss a plan of action for his ailing elbow.

The left-hander said doctors have told him an irritated triceps tendon is causing the discomfort in his throwing elbow.

The Mets plan to have him throw a light bullpen session on Sunday to see how he responds, even though he said Saturday he still has tightness in the elbow.

If all goes well with Sunday's bullpen, Santana said he would need another two or three batting practice sessions with two days off in between before making his first Grapefruit League start.

That means the two-time Cy Young Award winner isn't likely to pitch in a game until at least the second week of March.

If Santana throws Sunday and still feels discomfort in the elbow, the Mets could opt to send him to New York for further tests.

Santana, who had arthroscopic surgery Oct. 1 on torn cartilage in his left knee, didn't think the tightness in his elbow was related to rushing back from the knee surgery too soon, but rather from overuse early in camp.

"I've been throwing bullpens here every other day, and I don't think I've ever done that in the past," Santana said Thursday. "The reason why is because we wanted to test my knee and make sure everything is fine, throwing every other day off the mound."

Santana threw off a mound for the first time since the offseason surgery on Feb. 10 and has faced no setbacks with the leg.

Santana went 16-7 last year with a major league-best 2.53 ERA in his first season with the Mets after signing a six-year contract for $137.5 million last winter.

Game notes
Tim Redding, the leading candidate for the No. 5 spot in the Mets' starting rotation, finally threw a bullpen session on Saturday and reported no problems. He has been battling a sore shoulder.

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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