Johan Santana Sharp In Rehab Start

Johan Santana was back on the mound for the first time in almost 11 months Thursday night and looked solid for three innings.

Originally slated to throw 45 pitches, the New York Mets left-hander threw 33 pitches — 26 for strikes — to get through the three innings against the Daytona Cubs. He allowed two hits, struck out three and hit a batter.

“I felt good,” Santana said. “It’s my first time actually in a real game where I have to throw all my pitches and actually get a hitter out. But it worked out pretty good. I felt that all my pitches were there. I mean, I was able to throw them without any problems. That’s what I’m looking for. I was very pleased with the way everything ended up today.”

Santana has made remarkable progress during his rehab. His last start was Sept. 2, 2010, against Atlanta, two weeks later he had surgery to repair a torn anterior capsule in his left shoulder.

He began his spring training approximately two weeks ago and threw 42 pitches in a simulated game in Port St. Lucie last week before throwing 45 more pitches in a bullpen session last Sunday. Santana was scheduled to throw 45 pitches last night, but rehab coordinator Randy Niemann decided not to send him out for the fourth inning – choosing instead not to push it and to wrap things up on a high note. It was a good call.

“I was happy to see him be able to go through all three innings and maintain his velocity,” Niemann said. “I think there was a little bit of a dip in the last inning which wasn’t a concern. The fact that he came out tonight, I thought he did a decent job.”

Santana’s fastball was clocked at 89-90 mph, which was a little bit higher than anyone expected.

The Mets will now wait it out and see how Johan’s shoulder responds today and tomorrow and if all goes well, he’ll make another start for St. Lucie on  August 3.

Terry Collins said he fully expects to have Johan Santana back in the Mets rotation by last August, and it certainly looks like that’s going to happen.

This has gone better than anyone expected, and to be back in the majors in less than 12 months after that kind of surgery would be a phenomenal success.

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I'm a lifelong Mets fan who loves writing and talking about the Amazins' 24/7. From the Miracle in 1969 to the magic of 1986, and even the near misses in '73, '00 and '15, I've experienced it all - the highs and the lows. I started Mets Merized Online in 2005 to feed my addiction and interact with other passionate Met fans like you. Follow me on Twitter @metsmerized.