The Mets received good and bad reviews from two pitchers who might have the highest expectations this season in Johan Santana and Mike Pelfrey.
Santana, recovering from shoulder surgery, threw in the bullpen today without discomfort and pronounced himself ready for his next start Sunday, when he’s scheduled to throw three innings against the Marlins.
Santana was anxious to see how his shoulder would respond after Tuesday’s start.
“I was able to throw my bullpen without any problems and with good intensity and work on all my pitches,’’ Santana said. “I felt pretty good.’’
Santana said every day represents another hurdle, and this week has been all good news. He threw mostly fastballs and change-ups during his 29-pitch outing Tuesday and plans to throw more sliders Sunday.
While we can’t make too much of this to pencil Santana in for the Opening Day rotation, considering what he’s gone through the news is encouraging.
As for Pelfrey, he struggled in his first start of the spring, giving up four runs on six hits in 2 2/3 innings. He had the usual problems with his command, in particular with his sinker.
“I didn’t get ahead,’’ Pelfrey said in what was a common refrain last year. “It’s kind of hard to pitch when you’re behind in the count. … I didn’t make pitches. The command wasn’t very good today.’’
Pelfrey gave up a homer to Austin Kearns on a crippled sinker.
“Sinker down the middle and he hit it,’’ Pelfrey said. “I was working on the sinker and it wasn’t very good today. My command wasn’t that good at all and it definitely needs to get better.’’
By all accounts – including his own – this is a make-or-break season for Pelfrey and he’s not happy about this afternoon.
While it is only one start out of six or seven he’ll make before the beginning of the season, Pelfrey’s career has been defined as one of streaks, both good and bad.
He has a tendency to let things snowball, but that’s something he must curtail this time. He doesn’t have the luxury of gliding into the season as if he has no worries. There are plenty of this he must be concerned about in the coming weeks.