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.