TC hopes to start Santana Aug. 8 or 9

Terry Collins hopes Johan Santana gets back on a mound sometime in the middle of next week, and has him penciled in to start either Aug. 8 or 9 against the Marlins.

Santana was placed on the 15-day disabled list Saturday with a sprained right ankle.

The 33-year-old left-hander is currently throwing and will long-toss over the next few days, Collins said.

• Collins said it is “realistic” to think that the Mets will get Mike Baxter (shoulder) back by the San Francisco series next Monday.

Baxter is currently rehabbing at Triple-A Buffalo, and went 2-for-3 with an RBI for the Bisons on Wednesday night. In nine rehab games, he’s hitting .300 with six RBIs.

Collins said he’d like to see Baxter play some more outfield before he returns.

Jason Bay is hitting .167 (4-for-24) since being activated from his second stint on the DL.

Bay was not in the lineup on Wednesday afternoon against Nationals flamethrower Stephen Strasburg.

Collins, though, wants to get Bay more consistent at-bats; He has had 99 at-bats this season.

“I’m well-aware of how Jason’s performed in the last two years due to the concussions and the shoulder problems and the other issues that he’s had (like the) broken rib,” Collins said. “But you’re looking at a guy who has been unable to get consistent playing time, so it’s pretty tough to evaluate him. And so I look at, he’s got (99) at-bats spread over four months, it’s pretty hard to ask him, ‘Hey look, your production’s gotta be picked up a bit,’ and you’re not running him out there all the time.”

Given how tough a matchup Strasburg is, Collins thought it would be better to give Bay the day off and get him back in the lineup over the weekend in Arizona.