For the first time since September 2, 2010, Johan Santana faced major league batters on Tuesday, taking on the St. Louis Cardinals in an exhibition game.
Santana threw 29 pitches over two innings, allowing just one hit. ESPNNewYork.com reports Santana was able to dial one fastball up to 90 mph, but most of them settled in the 87-88 mph range.
“Finally I had an opportunity to go out there and finally get the first one out of the way,” Santana said. “I know it is a game situation and you have to do your job out there, but I was just focused on making sure I do the mechanics the right way and feeling good and not feeling anything in my arm. And that’s how I felt today. I felt good.”
That is a good sign, but whether Santana feels any residual effects is the great unknown.
“Now the test will be, probably, Thursday,” Terry Collins said. “I think he’s going to throw a ‘pen on Thursday. If not, it will be long toss Thursday and ‘pen Friday. I mean, I know he’s thrilled. When he walked off, I went over to shake his hand. He said, ‘Yeah, baby!'”
Santana is optimistic.
“Hopefully we’ll be back on the mound in five games,” he said. “I don’t see any problems in my next one. But, again, we have to wait until tomorrow, the next couple of days, and see how I feel and go from there. The most important thing today is that I felt good.”
Santana did attempt two minor league rehab starts last summer but had to be shut down because of pain in his surgically repaired shoulder in the days after throwing. Let’s hope and pray that does not happen again.