Mets Expecting Johan Santana to Hurl Opener

Last year at this time, the Mets were hopeful that Johan Santana would be able to make it back from shoulder surgery, which had cost him his entire 2011 season.  A surprisingly strong spring meant that not only had he made the starting staff, Santana was on the mound for the Mets season opener versus Atlanta, hurling five shutout innings.  This season, with 2012 Cy Young Award Winner R.A. Dickey no longer with the team, the Mets are looking for Santana, 33 now, to once again come back from injury and head the rotation.

Terry Collins told Adam Rubin of ESPN-New York.com that the Mets are expecting number 57 to be on the mound in San Diego for game one of the 2013 campaign.
"My guess is that's what it'll be," Collins said.


Santana, who rehabbed hard in order to make it back last year, hit new highs and lows during 2012.  On June 1, the native of Tovar, Venezuela, treated the home crowd at CitiField to the first no-hitter in New York Mets history.  Santana struck out eight and walked five in that 8-0 victory over the Cardinals.  The downside was that it took 134 pitches to accomplish, and that may have set the tone for the remainder of Johan's season.
In his next start, one week later at Yankee Stadium, the two-time AL Cy Young Award Winner was pelted for four home runs, including back to back to back whacks by Robinson Cano, Steve Swisher and Andrew Jones in the third inning.

Santana bounced back, winning three more games in June, but by July, the four-time All-Star had run out of gas. The lefthander allowed six earned runs or more in each of his final five starts, just one game short of the Major League record for such futility.  His season ended after his start on August 17 when Santana was placed on the DL with lower-back inflammation.

 Collins said he is convinced Santana's swoon last season was related to fatigue.
 "No question," Collins said. "He said he feels great, and he said the rest has really made a difference."

 Mets fans lost one Cy Young hurler this winter...they will be very happy to welcome another one back.




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