PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Johan Santana spent a portion of his Wednesday morning throwing off a mound at Tradition Field -- though hardly in the way he envisioned when he first reported to camp.
Three weeks ago, Santana was still talking about pitching in the World Baseball Classic for Team Venezuela, which beat the Mets, 14-10, in an exhibition at Port St. Lucie on Wednesday. Instead, Santana threw a few pitches off a back mound at the complex, following a light long-toss session with pitching coach Dan Warthen.
Mets manager Terry Collins revealed afterward that Santana hopes to make his Grapefruit League debut in approximately one week. The logical date for that would be March 14, since the Mets are off on March 12 and have long road trips on the 13th and 15th.
Still, Santana is hardly a sure thing for Opening Day, which is why an international tournament in early March never quite made sense.
"Knowing him, he's dying to be in," said countryman and former teammate Francisco Rodriguez. "But at the same time, he does understand that he has a big responsibility this year with the Mets, so it's hard to be in his shoes and be able to make a type of commitment. I know he's itching to be here right now."
Santana declined interview requests following his throwing session, leaving Collins to speak for him. Like most people around Mets camp, the manager is not ready to make predictions on Santana's readiness just yet.
"I'm not getting caught up in Opening Day right now," Collins said. "A lot of it will be determined in the next few days: how he comes out of his start, where he's at when he comes out of it. As I've continued to say, we're not worried about April 1. We're worried about him making 30 starts."
Still, if Santana indeed appears in a game next week, his chances of toeing the rubber on Opening Day, April 1, would significantly increase. That goal is a large part of the reason why the Mets did not allow Santana to pitch for Venezuela in the Classic, which in turn is why he was wearing blue and orange on Wednesday -- not the red and gold of Team Venezuela.
"I know how he feels, very emotional right now," Venezuela manager Luis Sojo said. "We've got to move on."
Mejia expected back in camp Thursday
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Right-hander Jenrry Mejia planned to spend a second consecutive night in New York on Wednesday, after doctors there examined him for a medical issue unrelated to his throwing arm. Mejia is due back in Mets camp on Thursday.
The Mets have yet to offer an official diagnosis for Mejia's condition, nor a timeline for his return to the mound.
This has been a difficult camp for Mejia, who is slated to open the season in Triple-A Las Vegas' rotation. After the right-hander's arrival was delayed more than a week due to a visa issue in the Dominican Republic, he gave up five runs in an inning during his only Grapefruit League appearance on Feb. 26.
Davis honored Torre thought of him for Team USA
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Ike Davis may not have been asked to replace injured first baseman Mark Teixeira on Team USA's World Baseball Classic roster, but he at least generated interest from the powers that be.
David Wright recently texted Davis to say that Team USA manager Joe Torre asked about him, not long after Teixeira dropped out of the tournament Tuesday with a wrist injury. Torre later chose Eric Hosmer of the Royals as his replacement, despite Davis' interest in playing internationally for the third time in his career.
"Of course," Davis said when asked if he would participate. "I'd get to play for Team USA again. That would be awesome."
Davis last played for Team USA during the IBAF World Cup in 2009.
A few days before reporting to Mets Spring Training, Davis placed his name on a list of potential reserves in case an American player suffered an injury -- which is precisely what happened when Teixeira strained his right wrist taking batting practice Tuesday. But plenty of other talented American first basemen were also available, including Hosmer, Prince Fielder of the Tigers, Paul Konerko of the White Sox and Adam LaRoche of the Nationals.
"I don't expect a call," Davis said before Team USA officially added Hosmer to its roster. "I expect a call if they want me to play, that's about it. They've obviously got tons of options at first base. I'm just glad they even thought about me."
Despite a brutal two-month slump to start last season, Davis finished with a career-high 32 home runs -- more than Fielder or Konerko, and twice as many as Hosmer -- and 90 RBIs.
Wright to take part in Chatting Cage Thursday
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Third baseman David Wright will headline MLB.com's first Chatting Cage event of 2013 on Thursday afternoon. Fans can log on to MLB.com/chattingcage beginning at 1:30 p.m. ET to ask Wright questions live via web cam. Fans can also tweet questions by using the hashtag #chattingcage.
Wright, who recently signed an eight-year, $138 million contract that should keep him in Flushing at least through 2020, is currently training with Team USA in Arizona for the World Baseball Classic. More details on his live video chat are available at MLB.com/chattingcage.
• Top pitching prospect Zack Wheeler threw off flat ground Thursday in his continued rehab from a strained right oblique muscle. The Mets are taking things slowly with Wheeler, who is in line to start Opening Day for Triple-A Las Vegas.
• Though he figures Johan Santana will be healthy enough to start on Opening Day, Jon Niese said he would embrace the challenge if he's asked to fill in. The Mets have already tabbed Niese as their backup plan if Santana is not ready to go, in what the left-hander called "a huge honor." Said Niese: "I'm glad the Mets organization has that trust in me."
• Marlon Byrd made his first spring appearance in center field against Team Venezuela, though he did not receive a defensive opportunity. Byrd could become a center-field hedge for the Mets if Kirk Nieuwenhuis is slow to heal from a bone bruise in his left knee.