NEW YORK -- Chris Young was back in New York on Monday, preparing to make his first Major League start in over 13 months on Tuesday against the Nationals.
The 33-year-old right-hander is returning from shoulder surgery that has kept him out since May 1, 2011.
"I'd say just going in, there was just so much unknown, and there still is," Young said. "There's been so much hard work, a lot of time, commitment and dedication. If that's what makes it smooth, then you can call it that, but I wouldn't say its been easy, and I don't expect it to continue to be."
Manager Terry Collins will hold Young to a similar pitch count as his last rehab start at Triple-A Buffalo, which was around 90 pitches. Young said he felt comfortable throwing that amount in his start on Thursday, and he thinks he can even stretch it a little further on Tuesday. Young threw six scoreless innings and allowed just two hits in the outing.
"I went to Buffalo and I felt good," Young said. "The results were good. The swings, to me, indicated that I could pitch at the next level. To me, that's what I really wanted to see."
Young and his wife, who is expecting a child any day, watched Johan Santana pitch his no-hitter on Friday from their home. Santana is also recovering from shoulder surgery.
"We've had good conversations along the rehab process, and he's always been encouraging and saying, 'Hey, it's going to happen, you'll get there,'" Young said. "To see him going out and having the results and the success, it's inspirational."
Young said he might get emotional after his first start back, as the former All-Star wasn't sure if he'd ever pitch again in the Majors. The doctors told Young he'd be pitching at the big league level again in a year, and the recovery time has been right in line.
"Obviously, my arm is not like it was when I was 25, and I can't expect it to be, but I know how to pitch," Young said. "I'm going to be as prepared and confident going out on the mound. Hopefully that stuff will help, and the results will take care of themselves. I wouldn't be here if I didn't think I could get Major League hitters out."
Ramirez tests his strained right hamstring
NEW YORK -- Ramon Ramirez threw indoors on Monday, passing the first test on his strained right hamstring. Doctors were to examine him later in the day to determine if he needs to spend any time on the disabled list.
Ramirez sustained the injury while he was running from the bullpen to the mound after Johan Santana completed his no-hitter against the Cardinals on Friday. Manager Terry Collins said he had never seen an injury happen in person on a celebration before.
Ramirez was acquired before the season in a trade with the San Francisco Giants. Entering Monday's game, the right-hander was 2-1 with a 4.78 ERA.
Mets set rotation for Nats, Yanks series
NEW YORK -- Mets left-hander Johan Santana did not throw his usual bullpen session on Monday because manager Terry Collins decided to give his ace an extra two days' rest.
Santana threw well above his allotted pitch count in Friday's no-hitter against the Cardinals, and Collins wants to be careful with Santana as he returns from invasive shoulder surgery. He will pitch on Friday in the Interleague series opener against the Yankees, and rookie Jeremy Hefner will pitch in Santana's place on Wednesday in Washington.
"We knew we were really going to have to take a look at [Santana's] workload his next start, if we moved it," Collins said. "If it was going to be either Wednesday or Thursday, we were really going to have to limit his workload. If we moved him to Thursday and give him an extra day, all of a sudden now you mess with [R.A.] Dickey, and you push him back, and he's a guy who doesn't need to be pushed back. We talked about possibly bringing [Santana] back on regular rest, and I didn't like that scenario."
The plan as of Sunday was for Dickey to move up a day to provide Santana with one more day of rest, but that was contingent on both of their bullpen sessions going well on Monday. Santana was told not to throw his session on Monday because Collins had already made his decision to rest him. Dickey will pitch in his usual spot on Thursday against the Nationals.
"We talked about possibly bringing R.A. back early on short rest," Collins said. "I knew R.A. could do it, I knew he was willing to do it, I couldn't find anyone that liked it. But when you're 8-1 and pitching as well as he is, you really don't want to disrupt the whole schedule that he's on."
Dillon Gee will follow Santana on Saturday. Jonathan Niese will also get an extra couple days' rest, closing out the crosstown series with the Yanks on Sunday.
"I can't even tell you how many meetings we've had to get this thing worked out, especially with what Johan did the other day, to make sure we're doing the right thing by him also," Collins said.
Bay's return to Mets delayed due to illness
NEW YORK -- Outfielder Jason Bay will miss his third scheduled rehab start with Class A Port St. Lucie on Monday night due to illness, according to manager Terry Collins. Bay was expected to rejoin the Mets as soon as Tuesday for the team's series against the Washington Nationals, but he will wait at least an extra day.
Bay has been on the disabled list since fracturing a rib on April 23.
The Mets left fielder was the designated hitter in his first two rehab games, but was scheduled to play the field on Monday night against the Tampa Yankees. Bay is a combined 2-for-6 with one RBI during the assignment.
Upon Bay's return, Collins will be forced to juggle time between five outfielders. In addition to Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Andres Torres and Lucas Duda, the skipper said he will try to incorporate Scott Hairston into the lineup, specifically against left-handed pitchers. Hairston boasts a .339 average against southpaws this season, and has hit five of his six home runs against lefties.
Following the three-game set with Washington, the Mets travel across town to Yankee Stadium for a weekend series, followed by a three-game road set against the Tampa Bay Rays.
Collins was grateful for the six consecutive games his team will play in American League parks.
"We've got six games with a DH," Collins said. "We're lucky we can maneuver that outfield and get everybody in there."
Jonathan Niese will examined for an enhanced heart rate on Monday as a precautionary measure for something that has happened before. It picked up in the fourth inning of Sunday's game against the Cardinals, when Niese singled and rounded the bases to score.
The enhanced heart rate caused Collins to take Niese out of the game after the sixth inning. A similar situation happened last season in Texas, and doctors assured Niese he was fine after he wore a heart monitor in his next start. Niese and Collins downplayed the severity of the heart rate following Sunday's game.
Jon Rauch experienced a tender right elbow during warmups before his appearance in Monday's loss. Collins said the injury is something that "pops up once in a while" with his right-handed reliever. Rauch, who took the loss in giving up two runs on two hits in two-thirds of an inning, was taken to the hospital after the game to have his elbow examined.
"I think right now we're going to have it checked," Collins said. "We're going to have the doctor look at him a little bit. But once again, he's been pitching well enough. Today he just got the fastball up on the wrong guy."
Ethan Asofsky and Adam Rosenbloom are associate reporters for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.