'No plans' to see Johan back with Mets in '11
Next Minor League rehab outing could come in Class A playoffs
NEW YORK -- Though the Mets have not yet made specific plans for the rest of Johan Santana's rehabilitation, they are relatively certain that no part of it will occur in the Majors.
Ideally, the Mets would like Santana to make another rehab start in the Minor Leagues, though they remain at the mercy of the postseason schedule. If Class A Savannah does not advance from its current playoff series, then Santana will have to fly to New York for a simulated game instead.
Though Class A St. Lucie is currently participating in the Florida State League championship and cannot play beyond this week, Savannah is tied, 1-1, in its best-of-three South Atlantic League series. If the Sand Gnats advance, Santana could start for them in the championship series next week.
"The game plan has been to get him in some competitive situations, where he finds out how he feels bouncing back from each and every outing," said Mets manager Terry Collins. "I'm hoping that we hear that his recovery is fine and his long-toss session is fine, and he can get ready for whatever his next time pitching will be."
If a Minor League game is not possible, Santana -- who threw three effective innings for Savannah on Friday -- will fly to New York for a simulated game at Citi Field.
It is growing increasingly unlikely that Santana will pitch in the Major Leagues this season, given the team's reluctance to expose him to a higher caliber of competition. Santana is not yet a year removed from major surgery to repair a torn anterior capsule in his left shoulder.
"The one thing we don't want to do is take a big step backward," Collins said. "I think the process that they've set down is going to work, and Johan's bought into it. Right now, we have no plans to see him here."
Niese, Hairston not likely to return this season
NEW YORK -- Left-hander Jon Niese's return from the disabled list "doesn't look good" for this season, according to Mets manager Terry Collins.
Niese, who has been on the disabled list since Aug. 24 with a right intercostal strain, has been limited to rehab and trunk exercises at the team's Spring Training complex in Port St. Lucie, Fla. He has not thrown a baseball since landing on the DL, and he does not appear particularly close to doing so.
"I would say it's a good chance he probably won't be back," Collins said.
Prior to his injury, Niese was 11-11 with a 4.40 ERA, 138 strikeouts and 44 walks.
The news was no better on outfielder Scott Hairston, who has been on the DL since Aug. 26 with a left oblique strain. Hairston attempted to exercise on an elliptical machine Friday for the first time since his injury, but he had to step off after less than a minute due to pain in his side.
Because the season is nearly complete, Hairston is pushing his rehab in an attempt to return before the end of September. But he is hardly optimistic that he will be able to do so.
"I haven't had a pain-free day yet," Hairston said. "I've got to wait until that happens, but there's only so much time left."
The team's primary right-handed pinch-hitter over the first five months of the season, Hairston was batting .235 with seven home runs prior to his injury -- three of those homers came in 41 pinch-hit at-bats.
'Clutch' Turner scratched with stomach virus
NEW YORK -- A day after hitting a walk-off double to beat the Cubs, Mets infielder Justin Turner was a late scratch from the lineup because of a stomach virus. Ruben Tejada replaced Turner, playing second base and batting second.
It was hardly the encore the Mets envisioned for Turner, whom manager Terry Collins -- well aware of the word's reputation within sabermetric circles -- considers one of his most "clutch" players.
"There are guys that go up to home plate in certain situations, and go up there saying, 'I'm going to hit a line drive here,'" Collins said. "'I don't know where it's going to go, but I'm going to hit the ball hard somewhere.'"
Turner, for his part, does not believe he does anything differently in critical spots, though he does acknowledge a comfort level with the game on the line.
"I enjoy being in [those situations]," Turner said. "Definitely."
One day after Manny Acosta blew a save against the Cubs, Mets manager Terry Collins said that Bobby Parnell would serve as closer for Saturday's game against the Cubs. Parnell, Acosta and Jason Isringhausen have all entered into a ninth-inning timeshare in September.
The Mets on Saturday hosted their annual Bark in the Park to benefit the North Shore Animal League America. Mets players participated in a photo opportunity with dogs up for adoption, while fans and their dogs participated in a pregame parade around the warning track. All proceeds from the purchase of dog tickets went to the North Shore Animal League America.