March 9.10: All eyes on Santana today.

Johan Santana reported to spring training feeling brash, talking about such things as winning a Cy Young Award and more importantly, a World Series.

Always confident, but what gave Santana the push is that his surgically-repaired left elbow feels good, strong and sound.

Last season long since lost, Santana shut it down in August and had surgery to remove bone chips from his elbow – the second time he’s had such surgery.

“I’m able to let it go,’’ said Santana, who’ll do it for the first time this spring in a game against Houston.

Santana has been reporting full extension in his release. So far no problems in his bullpen sessions.

“I am able to throw my fastball with no problems and throw my breaking balls and my change-up without feeling that sharp pain in the back of my elbow now,’’ Santana said. “I am able to throw all my pitches pain free, so that’s a big plus for me.’’

Full arm extension means a better release point, which adds bite to his slider.

“Now I am able to extend my arm and release the ball in front of me and be able to throw my slider,’’ Santana said. “It’s a big difference from last year. I am able to now throw my pitches and let everything go. Last year I wasn’t able to do that.’’

This is huge news for the Mets, who opened camp with questions to their entire rotation, but Santana changes the entire dynamic of the team. If he’s healthy he gives the Mets a good chance to win every five days; if not, an already suspect rotation falls into disarray.

For a team desperate for positive health news, having Santana back eliminates one headache.

29 thoughts on “March 9.10: All eyes on Santana today.

  1. last year he came out hard because he didnt like losing.

    then after a month or so he started having issues.

    i want him to be healthy the whole year. without him we have no rotation.

  2. Honestly I think his issues were he had no support from the field. yeah he struggled a bit, but when the team can field a ball coming their way what can he do.
    of all the players I really had no real problems with Santana. Frustrating he couldnt get a win. As long as the field is healthy and doing their job we should be ok.
    e.g. a ball does dribble by the first baseman as it used to..

  3. What a loser isn’t he C? In two years with the Mets this loser has only 3 complete games. In an entire career this loser has only 9. Don’t you think he should return some money C? LOL.
    Delcos. I think all eyes in baseball will not be watching Santana. They’ll be watching Strasberg. May the Koufax/Clemens/Feller/Gooden/Johnson all rolled into one watch begin. Of course if he fails today the OP2 watch begins!

  4. Santana was forced out of the games by manuel and his pitch count. he was very capable of completing the games. I watched the games where he said to manuel i am not leaving and manuel forced the ball from him.
    there you go again needing to needle people. I said nothing bad against santana yet you needed to create a spark.
    you must be a yankee fan.

  5. Gee Steve C, I didn’t know Manuel was Santana’s manager in Minnesota. Wow! Manuel gets blamed for a guy’s failure to complete games which of course in your world is expected, even when he isn’t the guy’s manager. Man that Manuel is powerful !!

    Wow!! I must say C, I am so impressed with your five year old accusation of me being a Yankee fan. OOH that really was heavy. OOH Hope you didn’t spend all night thinking up that heavy one. Man, you are almost ready for some “You’re Momma” lines. Good luck in first grade next year.

  6. dude, I wouldnt waste my breath on you. enjoy your monologues. notice my posts versus yours you belittle people are talk crap. and after this i am sure you will want to retort and thats fine. As I know you wont care, I will not bother with you anymore, so jump up and down in your chair going i win. Because that’s all you will have in this life.

    JD: sorry for the back and forth with HC ; I should have known better and I will going forward,

  7. Regarding Santana’s performance today, I can’t bury him, because after all, it is his first start, but it would have been nice to have something positive come out of the day. Maybe if he finishes strong as Pelfrey did the other day, that will be enough.

    Gotta keep a positive thought.

  8. very interesting conversation between Ralph and Ronnie. about how young pitchers in HS and college arent left in to complete games so they dont know how to throw for long stretches. Ron said in college he threw 28 games and finished 28 games. very telling indeed. SO there’s half the problem right their, the pitching fundamentals have changed along to match the pitch count.

  9. Another gem from Ralph and Ron, batting lineup. they don’t think Reyes batting 3rd is good for the team. They want to see him get on base and teal etc. But that wont matter M&M have their master plan whatever that may be..

  10. exactly JD so what does that say about Manuel&Minaya? ;-)

    Willie would never make that mistake, yet he got booted for less..

  11. And, by the age of 27, Ronnie had declined to a below-average pitcher. Gooden became league-average at about 25. El Sid, who ended up being more consistent than either of them, was pretty much done at age 30.

    The guy in that group that threw the innings and lived to tell about it was Cone. The others tend to be poster boys for arm abuse.

  12. It’s good to see decent plays at first base for a change. ;-)
    I think he everyone stays/gets healthy we should have a halfway decent year …

  13. Tiffany: Ronnie always admitted he wasnt the worlds greatest or best pitcher, Gooden was getting hooked on drugs. El Sid was older than he said ;-)
    There are many other pitchers that threw long that lasted beyond 30. To reduce pitching to an exact pitch count for every pitcher makes the game very predictable. It also tires out the bullpen faster. Just my opinion of course.

  14. And they’ve done studies which correlate pitch counts with arm injuries. In particular, they talk about young guys throwing more than 120 pitches, and how much damage is done with each pitch after the 120-mark.

    Actually, if you look at Darling through age 25, you’ll see a _very good_ pitcher, a guy who finished in the top 10 in ERA twice in his first seasons. In his book, Darling claims that his 1987 thumb injury robbed him of his curveball for the remainder of his career; maybe that was the case, but his career sure mirrors that of an arm abused before the age of 25.

  15. As for Gooden, it’s chicken-and-egg time. Did his career become ruined by drugs or did he start taking drugs because he wasn’t as good as he once was? Which came first? According to Doc, he was frustrated that these things weren’t coming as easily as they once did. That said, he hasn’t been willing to pinpoint the origin of the drug use.

  16. How do you explain the pitchers that throw well into their mid to late 30’s ?
    We will leave Nolan Ryan out because he was just a god in human clothing ;-)
    I dont disagree that pitching does a number on your arm shoulder etc, I find it hard to believe that every pitcher in the study had the same issue. Also what type of ball was thrown? Some pitchers like glavin etc slow the pitches down and make them dance so they can extend their arm.. In any sport etc, where people are puniching their body there will be wear tear etc.
    Football is the prime example. The QB is there for the entire game he gets beat up almost if not more than a pitcher.. he may not throw as much but the types of throws he has to do are brutal.
    Ok, so todays pitcher may not make it to the 9th inning. at least to 7 or 8. and if he’s feeling good why not the 9th?
    sorry I am just not all that convinced that there’s an exact number for every body type and every pitcher. too many variables.

  17. With the exception of one year in the minors, Ryan didn’t appear to be abused before the age of 25, most likely because of the blisters he kept experiencing (which he tried to cure with pickle brine). Either way, Ryan is an outlier, a freak of nature, rather than the norm.

    Glavine? He came up as a power pitcher. He threw in the 90s once upon a time.

    I’m not sure a QB is a good analogy, since the act of throwing a football doesn’t take nearly the toll of that of throwing a baseball. Perhaps a better comparison would be a running back: I’m guessing running backs probably hit a threshold (maybe 30 carries), after which the cumulative toll of that particular game serves to hamper their effectiveness over the long haul, thereby shortening their career.

    As for today’s pitchers, money is a big factor. Teams are investing millions and don’t want to use up that resource quickly and unwisely. And the players themselves are probably more interested in their next contract than in making you proud by taking starts into the late innings. At the end of the day, where’s the incentive for anyone in this equation?

  18. and you successfully hit on the point Tiffany. The drive is gone and they are taught that no matter how well you are pitching and how fresh you feel you are out after 100. The game dynamics has changed the loyalties have changed. It is a different game and I think not for the better ..

  19. That all depends on whether you’d rather enjoy six innings of Johan Santana for a 12-yr-period or eight innings of Dwight Gooden for a four-year period. I know which one I’d take.

  20. steve C: please stop lying.
    1. for a guy who claims he won’t waste his breath on me you seem to have a fixation on responding poorly to anything I say accurately about you.
    And 2 you started the name calling. You came up with a rewally inaccurate post, got called out for it and responded by name calling, but when you were then name called back a little you started your typical two year old whiney poo respomnses. groow up. You don;t want to be criticisez get some intelligence behind your statements. Can’t take the criticism, go to Seseame Street’s blog. Wait, they’re above your intelligence level also.

  21. I still blame Mel Stottelmyre for Gooden’s pitching fall. Once he tried to change him from a strikeout pitcher to a guy who induces balls put in play, he was never the same pitcher.

  22. steve-O: agreed. but in Mel’s defense.. The players started figuring out the high fastball. I think he was trying to get him to have more pitches??

  23. yes, because they were starting to sit on the high fast ball so he had to sucker them to fall for a different pitch. in the end yes it was all designed to change his style so that he would throw less to get the guys out with a pitch they didnt figure out.
    .. dude we agree :-P

  24. Steve(s)

    I don’t know what the problem with Gooden was. I do know that his fastball started getting flat and had no movement.

    It used to move. Up/Down/Left/Right. I don’t know if the hitters getting more disciplined and not swinging high changed everything for him, but for me it was lack of movement on his pitches that was always curious.