Mets ace Johan Santana will not be pitch for Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic, with the decision made for him by the Venezuelan Baseball Federation.
The Federation announced today it was not willing to the insurance premium required for the Mets to clear Santana, who underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left knee, Oct. 1.
Santana tested his knee this week for the first time since surgery, throwing 18 pitches and participating in conditioning drills. Santana said at the time he wanted to play, but the decision would be made by the Mets.
Johan Santana plans to represent Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic, but said that won’t be his call.
“It will be a medical decision,’’ Santana said this morning in a conference call. “The team will need to approve it. … There are a lot of things here that the Mets want to protect, and if they don’t want me to play I will not play.’’
Santana had arthroscopic surgery in October to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee and has not begun his off-season throwing.
He will be examined next week in Port St. Lucie, and then could begin a long-toss throwing program.
“I want to play, but at this point I don’t really know what’s going to happen,’’ Santana said. “If everything is not right they will not let me go.’’
It’s almost around the corner. Spring training. I look forward to it every year. Especially at the end of the week when the temps could be in single digits.
It ends a little later this spring because of the World Baseball Classic. And, for the Mets it ends with two games against the Red Sox in a Citi Field tune-up. Here’s the complete schedule.
Feb 25 Baltimore at Ft. Lauderdale
Feb 26 Florida at PSL
Feb 27 St. Louis at PSL
Feb 28 Detroit at Lakeland
Mar 1 Houston at PSL
Mar 2 OFF DAY
Mar 3 St. Louis at PSL
Mar 4 Washington at Viera
Mar 5 Italy (WBC) at PSL
Mar 6 St. Louis at Jupiter
Mar 7 Washington at PSL
Mar 8 University of Michigan at PSL
Washington at Viera
Mar 9 Baltimore at PSL
Mar 10 Washington at Viera
Mar 11 OFF DAY
Mar 12 Florida at PSL
Mar 13 Detroit at Lakeland
Mar 14 Washington at PSL
Mar 15 Florida at Jupiter
Mar 16 OFF DAY
Mar 17 Atlanta at Disney
Mar 18 Atlanta at PSL
Mar 19 Houston at PSL
Mar 20 Baltimore at Ft. Lauderdale
Mar 21 Atlanta at Disney
Mar 22 Atlanta at PSL
Mar 23 OFF DAY
Mar 24 Houston at Kissimmee
Mar 25 Detroit at PSL
Mar 26 St. Louis at Jupiter
Mar 27 Washington at PSL
Mar 28 Florida at PSL
Mar 29 Baltimore at Ft. Lauderdale
Mar 30 Baltimore at PSL
Mar 31 Florida at Jupiter
Apr 1 St. Louis at Jupiter
Apr 2 Baltimore at PSL
Apr 3 Boston at Citi Field
Apr 4 Boston at Citi Field
Reliever J.J. Putz will join David Wright on Team USA during the World Baseball Classic this spring.
Also representing the Mets this spring will be: outfielder Carlos Beltran, first baseman Carlos Delgado and reliever Pedro Feliciano (Puerto Rico); closer Francisco Rodriguez and pitcher Johan Santana (Venezuela) and shortstop Jose Reyes (Dominican Republic).
After Alex Rodriguez opted to play for the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic this spring, and with Chipper Jones expected to be the DH, third base opened up for David Wright. Team USA will have an all-New York left side of the infield with the Yankees’ Derek Jeter at shortstop.
Wright will likely be the only Met playing for Team USA, but the Mets could also send Carlos Beltran and Carlos Delgado (Puerto Rico), Johan Santana and Francisco Rodriguez (Venezuela), and Jose Reyes (Dominican Republic).
I found it interesting that Phillies Ryan Howard, Brad Lidge and Cole Hamels said they preferred getting their work in during spring training and preparing for the season to play for the team that pays them. Yankees’ CC Sabathia and AJ Burnett said the same thing.
Yes, I am well aware a player can get hurt anywhere, but I’m especially wary about pitchers throwing in game conditions that early in the spring. But, that’s just me. Does anybody have a problem with players leaving teams during spring training to prepare for the WBC and exposing themselves to injury.