Johan Santana has been on the disabled list since late July to rest the ankle he injured against the Cubs before the All-Star break, and for good reason. In the three starts since that incident, Santana is 0-3 with a 13.50 ERA, one of the worst (if not the worst) stretches in his career.
Terry Collins re-iterated that the injury has nothing to do with his surgically repaired left shoulder, but they wanted to give Santana some extra rest because he told the coaching and medical staffs that he was throwing with his arm more than usual to compensate for his ankle. He was in Port St. Lucie Thursday, throwing his first full bullpen session since being shelved by the Mets, and so far, there have been no reports of ill effects.
Santana is scheduled to participate in another bullpen session on Sunday before the organization makes a decision as to when they will activate him off the DL. Terry Collins was looking for a specific period in time to rest his ace’s shoulder
in the middle of the season so he can catch his breath and finish the year on a strong note, and this just so happened to be the perfect opportunity.
Though there was no concrete date as to when Santana will return, his current schedule has him returning against the Marlins on Wednesday, which would fall in line with what Collins mentioned to reporters last week. New York is hoping he can get back on track, as he’s only 3-5 with a 6.54 ERA since his June 1st no-hitter against the Cardinals.
The Mets have mentioned on numerous occasions as to whether or not they will start using R.A. Dickey on short rest to give Santana and Chris Young, who’s coming off the same surgery, some extra rest down the stretch. Dickey is the most likely candidate for this because his knuckleball doesn’t put much stress on his arm.
However, he’s still 38-years-old, and I don’t think it would be a great idea to consistently start him on short rest, even if the Mets were in the thick of a pennant race. I’m a big proponent of sticking to routines, and if Santana and/or Young aren’t able to be effective on regular rest, then they shouldn’t be pitching in the rotation. We saw how Johan performed out of his routine and on extra rest following his no-hitter and the All-Star game. So, they should stop trying to find ways to give him extra rest, because it’s likely he doesn’t need it.
Either way, it’s exciting to get a competitor like Santana back in the rotation, as the Mets try to get on a roll and finish this season strong.