TC: Pencil late July for Johan

The Mets have resisted putting precise timetables on Johan Santana’s return from Sept. 14 surgery to repair a torn anterior capsule in his left shoulder. But manager Terry Collins says late July may be a good bet.

Asked if Santana might be in the rotation when the Mets return from the All-Star break on July 15, Collins said: “Is it realistic? Yeah. That would be realistic. Should we plan on it? I don’t know if we should. In a perfect world, if everything continues at the pace it is right now, it’s a realistic goal. But I’m probably looking more toward the end of July than the All-Star break.”

Collins plans to invite Santana to Flushing to throw one or two bullpen sessions at Citi Field and spend time with the team when the Mets return home from a three-city trip. Santana has thrown up to 50 pitches in bullpen sessions and is nearing throwing batting practice. Collins figures the warmer weather in New York compared with earlier in the season makes the timing right.

“I want him to understand he is a big part of this team,” Collins said. “Even though he may not be here, he is a part of the team, as is David [Wright], as is Ike [Davis], as is Chris Young. I want those guys to know we want them around, and I know the players would like to have them around.”

Regardless, Santana will have several minor league rehab appearances to get stretched out for his eventual activation.

“He’s going to be ready to go deep into a game,” Collins said. “He’s going to make sure we don’t have to give him an extra day [rest]. … The future is too much for this guy to bring him up and have him be a part of it if he’s not ready.”