Johan Santana and the Mets couldn’t have asked for more in the lefty’s return to the mound to face major league hitters for the first time since Sept. 2010.
SANTANA: Looked good today in two solid innings. Kept that fire in check.
With a two-inning, 35-pitch limit, Santana threw free and easy, giving up a walk and hit in two shutout innings against the Cardinals. Manager Terry Collins said what’s next is to see how he responds in two days when the throws again.
Coming off shoulder surgery, Santana kept his competitive juices in check and didn’t give in to the temptation of overthrowing. He threw 29 pitches and touched the gun in the high 80s going with his fastball and circle change.
Santana said he “wouldn’t do anything crazy,” and that included staying away from breaking balls for now.
As they should, the Mets are taking the cautious approach with Ike Davis. He doesn’t have Valley Fever, but they are treating him as though he does.
DAVIS: Playing today.
Valley Fever produces pneumonia-like symptoms that make it difficult to breathe. This condition can be even more acute in Florida at this time of the year with the humidity and pollen.
At its absolute worse, Valley Fever can become fatal if the disease spreads from the lungs to the bloodstream. Davis has a cyst on his lung, but all tests have been negative.
Davis is in today’s lineup against the Cardinals, but Terry Collins said the first baseman would receive plenty of rest this spring.
Davis, who missed nearly five months last season with an ankle injury, reports no problem in that area.
“Kid gloves,’’ is the term with how the Mets will treat Johan Santana’s return this afternoon in a split-squad game against St. Louis.
SANTANA: Rehab takes a huge step today.
Santana, recovering from shoulder surgery, is scheduled for two innings or 35 pitches – whichever comes first – and regardless of how he’s doing there will be no debate.
“I’m not going to do anything crazy,’’ said Santana, a phrase he’s uttered several times during his rehab from shoulder surgery. Santana has repeatedly said this is a process and nothing good can come from him overthrowing.
Mechanics and how he responds are what’s important at this stage. Results don’t mean anything, even if he sets down the side in order twice.
“I’m really excited to see him out there,’’ Collins said. “Obviously (in two days) is when I want to really see how he’s doing, because that will be a test on how he’s going to bounce back.’’
The Mets are playing two games today, but all eyes are on Port St. Lucie where Johan Santana will make the start against St. Louis.
Here are the Mets’ lineups for today’s split-squad games:
vs. St. Louis at Port St. Lucie.
Andres Torres, cf
Jordany Valdespin, 2b
Jason Bay, dh
Ike Davis, 1b
Justin Turner, 3b
Josh Thole, c
Adam Loewen, lf
Mike Baxter, rf
Ronny Cedeno, ss
Johan Santana, lhp
vs. Houston Astros at Kissimmee
Ruben Tejada, ss
Wilmer Flores, dh
Daniel Murphy, 2b
Lucas Duda, rf
Kirk Nieuwenhuis, cf
Josh Satin, 1b
Vinny Rottino, 3b
Rob Johnson, c
Juan Lagares, lf
Chris Schwinden, rhp
LINEUP COMMENTS: Terry Collins is keeping Jason Bay and Ike Davis together in the batting order, as they would normally be. … In the Houston game he’s also keeping together the double-play combination of Ruben Tejada and Daniel Murphy.
ON DECK: Santana gets the ball.
Yes, the Mets lost last night and we’ll see more of that this spring and summer. Even so, there were several things to take out of the game.
Pitching is traditionally ahead of the hitting at this stage, so it’s hard to measure last night’s performance by Dillon Gee and others. Gee looked comfortable in his two innings. What we saw was a lot better than the alternative, which we’ve seen a lot of in the past few springs.
Matt Harvey pitched two scoreless innings, but was all over the place with walks and hitting a batter. Nerves, no doubt.
HARVEY: Threw hard, but wild last night.
Offensively, there wasn’t much to speak about, but two things stood out for me. The first was Andres Torres getting on base. He won’t make things happen on the bases like Jose Reyes, but if he’s on he’ll score.
I also enjoyed watching the Mets run and attempt to push things. As we’ve learned, the power won’t always be there so there is the need to manufacture runs. Theoretically, during the season five steals should translate into more than one run.