Santana faced batters during a three-inning simulated game Friday at the Mets' complex in Port St. Lucie, Fla.
He is due to throw a bullpen session for the major league staff at Sun Life Stadium in Miami before Sunday's Mets game against the Florida Marlins. Afterward, team officials will huddle and decide whether Santana should proceed with his first minor league rehab start, which would put a 30-day clock on the ace's return to the majors.
Santana is working his way back from Sept. 14 surgery to repair a torn anterior capsule in his left shoulder.
"The stuff's there. I just think that little extra oomph isn't quite there at this time, but that's expected," said third baseman David Wright, who faced Santana at the team's Florida complex while working back from a stress fracture in his lower back. "He threw the ball better on Tuesday than he did the time I faced him the week prior to that. He threw harder, better stuff, better life on his pitches. There's no question he's building momentum."
Manager Terry Collins spoke with Santana by telephone Thursday.
"Whatever the next step is going to be, I know there's going to be ups and there's going to be downs," Collins said. "I know when there's a setback there will probably be delays. I just said, 'I think it's important that hopefully we continue to move forward and that sometime this summer you're standing on the mound at Citi Field.' "
Adam Rubin covers the Mets for ESPNNewYork.com.