2/17/2013 4:59 P.M. ET
Johan returns to mound with 20 pitches
By Anthony DiComo / MLB.com
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- When Johan Santana takes the mound on April 1 in Flushing, temperatures could easily dip into the 40s or colder.
Florida's Treasure Coast felt about that frigid on Sunday, even if thermometers at Tradition Field read 10 degrees warmer. The wind and cold generated a fitting atmosphere for Santana, the Mets' Opening Day starter, who climbed atop a bullpen mound to deliver his first pitches since last August.
"I guess I picked the coldest day of Spring Training to start everything," Santana quipped.
Throwing approximately 20 pitches to bullpen catcher Dave Racaniello, Santana said afterward that he felt fine -- a little chilly, but otherwise as sharp as any pitcher could hope to be this time of year. Not having thrown off a mound since the Mets placed him on the disabled list last August, Santana admitted to some minor nerves. But he also looked forward to rapid progression.
"I don't think it was my best or anything, but it's Day 1," Santana said. "You've got to start at some point."
Though Santana experienced no major issues with his surgically repaired left elbow in 2012, he did endure a significant drop in production after throwing 134 pitches during his June 1 no-hitter. The two-time American League Cy Young Award winner posted a 2.38 ERA up to that point, and an 8.27 ERA afterward.
The Mets finally shut Santana down in August, citing lower back inflammation as the reason. Santana was still concerned at the time about his balky right ankle, and he revealed last week that the Mets planned to shut him down at some point during the summer all along.
Following months of rest, Santana reported to camp last Monday fresh off his first "normal" offseason in years. The Mets expect Santana to start their March 2 Grapefruit League game against the Marlins, setting him on track to start Opening Day at Citi Field.
"Today was a beginning for me," Santana said. "You always worry about how you feel and everything, but at the same time, I was just trying to get my job done."
Added manager Terry Collins: "It's routine in the sense that he's going about it the way he always used to go about it. We know he's healthy. We know he's rested. So we'll just make sure that he doesn't skip a beat."
Collins to deliver more subtle message to Mets
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Don't expect any fire or brimstone from Terry Collins this spring. The Mets manager is planning only a brief message for his players prior to their first full-squad workout on Monday.
"I have about three pages of things I want to say," Collins said Sunday. "I'm ready to condense it down to about half a page. I'm going to sit down tonight and think about some things. Tomorrow morning when I get in, I'll make the final judgment of what I really think needs to be said, and make it a little not so in-depth on some things -- a little bit shorter."
Not typically a proponent of speeches or team meetings, Collins has nonetheless delivered optimistic addresses in each of his first two seasons. Chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon complimented the manager's efforts last year by ordering bright orange "Underdog" T-shirts for everyone in camp.
This year, Collins aims to hit a subtler note.
"I want to treat them like they're good Major League players, which they are," he said, "and not make it sound like we have guys in that room that don't belong. Because that's not true."
• A team official reiterated general manager Sandy Alderson's recent assertion that the Mets are unlikely to sign any additional players prior to Opening Day. Frank Francisco's injury has prompted speculation that the Mets could try to add a reliever, with established closers Jose Valverde and Francisco Rodriguez still at large. But the team appears committed to Bobby Parnell as closer.
• Manager Terry Collins said he plans to split up Johan Santana and Jon Niese, the only two lefties in his rotation. Because it would also make sense for Collins to separate right-handers Shaun Marcum and Dillon Gee, who boast similar repertoires, that would result in a projected rotation of Santana, Marcum, Niese, Matt Harvey and Gee, in that order.
• The Mets held their first bowling night of the spring on Sunday, in what has become an annual tradition under Collins. David Wright, who considers himself an excellent bowler, played in a five-man grouping that included chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon. Top prospects Travis d'Arnaud and Zack Wheeler also shared a group. Last year's high scorer, Tim Byrdak, is currently in Illinois rehabbing from surgery.