On Sunday in Port St. Lucie, Johan Santana threw off of a pitcher’s mound for the first time since he was shut down last August. That’s a good thing because Santana will be required to throw from the mound in baseball games.
“This is my first time in a while, but it was fine,” Santana said of his 20-pitch session, according to ESPNNewYork.com. “I don’t think it was my best or anything, but it’s Day 1. You’ve got to start at some point. You always worry about how you feel and everything, but at the same time I was just trying to get my job done and not trying to overdo things out there.”
Santana said he felt good and is on track to start the Mets opener on April 1. First, though, he must survive several Spring Training starts. He expects to get his first one on March 2.
Santana has one year left on his six-year, $137.5 million contract. The Mets are hopeful that he can lead them to contention. If that pipe dream is not met, then at least the Mets hope that he is pitching well enough to merit a trade in July that could net the Mets a top prospect.
If Johan Santana throws 215 innings and spends the final 30 days of the season on the active roster, he would trigger a vesting option for 2014. At $25 million, the Mets desperately don’t want that to happen. They’d much rather pay his $5.5 million buyout and use the $20 million to continue to rebuild the team, or line the pockets of the Wilpons. Either way, the Mets do not want Johan Santana on the team next season.