Feb 15, 2013; Port St Lucie, FL, USA; New York Mets pitcher Johan Santana during spring training workout at Tradition Field. Mandatory Credit: John Munson/THE STAR-LEDGER via USA TODAY Sports

Morning Mets Notes: Johan Santana Takes the Mound After Criticism

It’s been an eventful weekend for Johan Santana. There have been plenty of news reports covering the southpaw as he continues to build up his arm and shoulder strength, and not much of it was good. When estimating it could be another week and a half until Johan even gets back on the mound (as we now found out that actually meant until he pitches in a game), the organization made it known they didn’t think their $25.5 million man came to camp in pitching shape. Due to this development, Sandy Alderson said to Adam Rubin that it’s less likely that Santana will be able to pitch on Opening Day, which has been Terry Collins‘ original plan.

With all the negative press, Santana was mad enough to throw off the mound yesterday in Port St. Lucie after long-tossing from 180 feet. It was the first time he’s thrown off a mound since his February 19th bullpen session, as Anthony Recker caught him while squatting in front of the plate. Dan Warthen said all this attention probably acted as a motivator for Santana, and you can hear the anger in his voice:

What’s spring training for? What’s practice? To get you better. That’s what I’m doing right now. That’s what I’m here for, and that’s what I’m going to do. That’s what I’m working on.”

I understand why Johan is miffed at Alderson’s comments and what the press has been saying about him, but he’s needs to be well aware of the microscope he’s under this season, and I’m surprised he didn’t come to camp in better shape. Players use Spring Training to get game-ready, but from what we’ve seen from Santana thus far this spring, it looks like he did absolutely nothing over the winter, starting at square one when it comes to his arm strength. That’s disappointing, but he’s a competitor; now that people are starting to trash talk about him, he’ll get himself in shape quicker than we think (at least, I hope).

Kirk Nieuwenhuis left yesterday’s 6-4 loss to the Miami Marlins in the seventh inning with what appears to be a bruised knee. He was carted from the dugout to the visitors clubhouse after making his way off the field, and he’s headed to see a doctor to get a full diagnosis. Kirk downplayed his injury (despite not being able to bend his knee after the game), as he said it’s “just a bad bruise or something like that.” Danny Abriano took a look at the possible options the Mets have depending on the severity of his knee injury. Meanwhile, Zack Wheeler is progressing well from his strained right oblique, as Dan Warthen said the righty is expected to throw a bullpen tomorrow or Wednesday, and he hopes he’s back starting a Grapefruit League game this upcoming weekend.

Dillon Gee put together three solid innings in yesterday’s game against the Marlins in Jupiter, Florida, but the Mets couldn’t hold onto an early 4-0 lead, losing 6-4. You can see the Rising Apple recap right here.

There was plenty of great content on Rising Apple yesterday while you were busy wrapping up your weekend; Joseph Falchetti submitted a guest post to Rising Apple, answering some of the burning questions surrounding the 2013 Mets. Rich Sparago gave us a little trip down memory lane, making the comparison between the situation Terry Collins is currently in as New York’s skipper, to when Joe Torre was in charge of the Mets in the late 1970s. Michael Lecolant gave us a review of the first full week of Grapefruit League games, and his thoughts on what’s happened thus far.

I hope everyone has a good start to the week…one week closer to Opening Day! Don’t forget to keep checking Rising Apple throughout the day for any relevant news and notes regarding our beloved team.

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Tags: Johan Santana Kirk Nieuwenhuis New York Mets Zack Wheeler

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