Mar 09

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.

Mar 05

On Santana: Are they really sure?

SANTANA: Are they sure?

SANTANA: Are they sure?

He’s easily the most important Met. How far they go this season is dependant on Johan Santana’s elbow, his shoulder, and his knee – every part of him.

October will be yet another empty month if Santana is injured and misses a substantial part of the season.

The appearance is the Mets aren’t on the same page on a timetable when a day after pitching coach Dan Warthen’s itinerary had Santana missing Opening Day the two-time Cy Young winner said he thought differently.

Santana threw 46 pain-free bullpen pitches Wednesday and the tenor has changed. Santana, manager Jerry Manuel said, isn’t a like everybody else, telling reporters in Port St. Lucie: “You have templates that you like to follow, and everybody don’t fit those templates. That’s why he is who he is.’’

I don’t think anybody doubts Santana’s competitiveness. All you have to do is think back to his last start of the season on a bum knee that required surgery.

This guy throws with his guts as much as he does his arm, and part of me can’t help but wonder if the Mets are doing with Santana what they did with Pedro Martinez, which is let him call the shots.

If they thought he needed a MRI a week ago, then why not go through with it and be sure?

Oct 01

Mets to announce Minaya contract tomorrow

Four more years.

Four more years.

The Mets scheduled a telephone news conference for tomorrow to announce a new contract for general manager Omar Minaya. After Minaya, the Mets are then expected to finalize a contract for manager Jerry Manuel.

I’m sure plenty of you have thoughts on this, many of them heated as the Mets lost on the final day of the season for the second straight year.

This season brought several defining moments in Minaya’s career, beginning with the trade for two-time American League Cy Young Award winner Johan Santana from the Minnesota Twins. Minaya also traded prospect Lastings Milledge to Washington for outfielder Ryan Church and catcher Brian Schneider.

The Mets, and Minaya, were criticized for their handling of Church’s concussion, and for circumstances surrounding the firing of manager Willie Randolph.

Minaya’s first order of business will be signing manager Jerry Manuel to an extension and patching a bullpen that blew 29 save opportunities.

Sep 29

Santana voted NL Pitcher of the Month

He had Cy Young stuff but not much support.

He had Cy Young stuff but not much support.

Johan Santana was voted the NL Pitcher of the Month this afternoon. He was 4-0 with a 1.83 ERA in September, including a gutty effort in Saturday’s shutout of the Florida Marlins that only delayed the eventual agony.

Santana gave up nine runs on 39 hits with 47 strikeouts in 44 1/3 innings. He only walked 13.

With the way Santana finished the season, it is hard to believe he was booed in the first half. He’s been lights out since early July.

-Since July 4, was 9-0 with a 2.09 ERA in 17 starts. He allowed three runs or less in 16 of these starts.

-Santana was 6-0 with a 1.47 ERA in his last nine starts at Shea.

Sep 19

About Last Night …. Santana does it again.

Last winter I wrote how I didn’t want the Mets to trade for Johan Santana. I was thinking he would cost too much in prospects and money, and would break down before the end of the contract. Who knows about injuries?

But, he’s been worth it. Every time he goes out there you expect him to throw a good game and have the feeling the Mets will win. He provides a sense of confidence. You are surprised when he doesn’t pitch well.

That’s an ace.

The man should have 20 wins this season. Seven games the bullpen coughed up for him. Many more times the offense snoozed.

If he keeps pitching like this and the Mets give him some help, he will win a Cy Young Award here. I’m glad he’s here. I always enjoy seen the best perform.