Johan Santana goes 3 scoreless

Facing the New York-Penn League team for which he pitched at the beginning of his minor league career, New York Mets left-hander Johan Santana tossed three scoreless innings Sunday in a rehab appearance for the Brooklyn Cyclones.

Santana surrendered one single and one walk against the Auburn Doubledays in a 38-pitch effort that included 29 strikes. The southpaw upped his pitch count to 90 by throwing in the MCU Park bullpen after the appearance.

Mets manager Terry Collins said the expectation is Santana will be activated from the disabled list Saturday to face the Atlanta Braves, with right-hander Jeremy Hefner moving to relief work.

Santana officially is on the disabled list with a right ankle sprain, which he suffered in his final first-half appearance covering first base. The Cubs' Reed Johnson stepped on Santana's twisted ankle during that play.

Santana made two ineffective starts after the All-Star break. Team officials suspect he compensated for the ankle injury and caused shoulder fatigue.

"I feel good," Santana said via the team after Sunday's appearance. "My body had a chance to recover. I really needed that. I threw all my pitches and commanded my fastball."

Santana made a combined 16 starts with the Doubledays during his first two professional seasons, in 1997 and '98, as an Astros' farmhand. Santana eventually was a Rule 5 pick out of Houston's minor league system on Dec. 13, 1999, by the Marlins on behalf of the Twins.