MIAMI — New York Mets left-hander Johan Santana threw a 45-pitch bullpen session at Sun Life Stadium before Sunday’s game against the Florida Marlins and declared he is ready to pitch in a minor league rehab game if he awakes on Monday feeling similarly good.
“I think we actually started spring training a week ago, a week and a half ago, when we moved the bullpens closer together,” said Mets rehab coordinator Randy Niemann, who monitored Santana’s bullpen session along with the major league staff. “We started batting practice. That’s what you would do in spring training. He’s gotten to the point where, if he recovers, and he’s feeling good, we can start getting into games, like you would in spring training.”
Santana underwent Sept. 14 surgery to repair a torn anterior capsule in his left shoulder. The Mets are eyeing a minor league game on Wednesday for Santana. Niemann expects Santana’s pitch count in his first game would be about 45 as well.
“I felt good overall,” Santana said about Sunday’s session, which came two days after he threw a three-inning simulated game in Port St. Lucie, Fla. “I think all the work that we have been doing is paying off. The way I’m feeling right now, I’m getting closer.”
Niemann recounted the progress Santana has made since he became fatigued just throwing briefly on flat ground a couple of months ago.
“I told him the other day, I reminded him, when we were out to 60 feet and his arm got tired at 25 throws,” Niemann said. “What a difference. He’s made great progress. I’m very proud of how hard he’s worked. Every time I see him on the mound, I see it just a little bit better than the last time. That’s what we’re looking for. And then the biggest thing is how he recovers the next day. … We’ll take it one step at a time. You can’t get ahead of anything in the rehab game. That’s for sure.”
Said Santana: “We still have some way to go, but I’m feeling better. And that’s what we’re looking for day in and day out — that every day I feel better, every time I throw in the bullpen or off the mound I feel good. The last couple of times has been really good.”
Adam Rubin covers the Mets for ESPNNewYork.com.