The Mets finally confirmed the obvious and said Johan Santana won’t be on the Opening Day roster. Considering he hadn’t thrown since his look-at-me-I’m-angry stunt, March 6, there was no suspense to this move.
“He’s not where he needs to be in his long-toss program,’’ manager Terry Collins told reporters in one of spring trainings’ biggest understatements. “Even if it’s next week, he’s not going to open with us. He’s going to have to get himself ready. And that’s going to certainly determine on a daily basis where he is. But we’ll be gone. I’ll have to monitor it by the phone.’’
Collins said Santana is staying in Port St. Lucie until he’s ready, which could be up to a month. Collins dodged the inevitable question of whether Santana’s stunt sabotaged his efforts to be ready.
“It’s hard to say it was a setback. I just think he wanted to prove his arm was OK, that his arm was healthy,’’ Collins said. “Instead of trying to make sure and not let all this other stuff bother him, he got angry about it.
“We needed to go back to step one again. At that particular time that was his way of making sure everybody knew his shoulder was fine, that he wasn’t hurt. It’s just that he wasn’t ready to pitch. So now we’ve got to get him ready to pitch.’’
That Collins said they had to return to step one was a roundabout way of saying it was a setback without really saying it. But, Collins, who’ll need Santana this summer, wouldn’t come out and ruffle the feathers of his lefthanded diva.
Not sounding believable, Collins said he didn’t care about the past and was only worried about the future with Santana. Collins will save it for the book to tell us what he really feels.
WRIGHT UPDATE: David Wright, who is expected to join Santana on the disabled list, began stretching and strength-building exercises.
Wright strained his intercostal muscle while at the World Baseball Classic and said he’s hopeful of being ready by Opening Day. At the time the injury was revealed last Thursday, Collins estimated Wright would be out at least a month.
With a week to go, the odds are greater of Wright being re-injured than they are of him being ready.
Should Wright be cleared for a game, it will be in a minor league to backdate him to the disabled list ten days from the end of spring training.
MARCUM UPDATE: Assuming he is ready, Shaun Marcum will pitch Thursday against Washington. Not sure this is the right move.
If Marcum pitches and is injured and has to go on the disabled list, the Mets could only backdate it to Friday and could miss up to two starts.
Marcum received a cortisone injection in his shoulder Tuesday to relieve an impingement. If he pitches in a minor league game and is injured, the Mets could retroactive the date earlier.
If everything works out for the Mets, and that’s always a huge “if’’ with them, Jon Niese will be the Opening Day starter, followed by Marcum, Matt Harvey and then Dillon Gee. They are undecided whether to come back with Niese in the fifth game of the season or use Jeremy Hefner.
Collin Cowgill, cf
Mike Baxter, rf
Andrew Brown, lf
Brandon Hicks, 1b
Omar Quintanilla, ss
Brian Bixler, 3b
Jonathan Niese, lhp