Will We See Johan Santana on the Mound for Opening Day?

Before yesterdays outing against the Detroit Tigers, Mets fans alike were seeing a healthy Johan Santana coming back strong and healthy.  His stats from his first two outings were telling us that things were going well and maybe we might soon see the Santana of old (calm, cool, and dominant).

In his first two starts of the spring, Santana had a 0.00 ERA with 2 K’s, and a WHIP of 1.07 in a combined 4.2 innings.

Yesterday, Santana had his first bad outing of the spring. In 2 2/3 innings of work against the Tigers, Santana allowed 4 runs on just 4 hits. He had control issues, he was cutting his fastball, and he did not execute his pitches as much as he wanted to.  On the brightside, Santana had better velocity, and threw 45 pitches (of his total 65 pitches) for strikes.  Thats encouraging at least.

After his outing against Detroit, Santana spoke to reporters about his outing and said the following.

“Today was a challenge. You have a good ball club on the other side, … I was trying trying to make sure I felt fine, more than anything. … It’s all about how I feel. I think that’s more important right now. As far as velocity, there is still room for improvement. I don’t know what that will be. But, as long as I feel good when I throw my fastball, that’s what I’m looking for. I felt fine.”

Every dog has its day, but that was not the case for Santana.

Lets fast forward to today. A day after the outing, manager Terry Collins is now undecided about whether or not to tab Santana as his opening day starter, this according to Andy Martino of the New York Daily News. Also, Collins went on the defensive about statements he made about Johan Santana (that he made last month) and stated that what he said about Santana previously was “a hunch”.

Collins told the Daily News the following this morning (From Martino’s article)

“I have not decided who is pitching Opening Day. Now, my point is, right now, as we get through spring training, we may have to make adjustments. If Johan is, ‘Hey, look, I’ll be ready,’ but maybe he needs to pitch game two or game three or game four, we will adjust.

Terry Collins should choose his words carefully next time.  Thats all I have to say about it.

In light of Collins’ comments, should Johan Santana be the Mets opening day starter?

If I were to give a realistic opinion, I believe we’ll see someone other than Johan Santana be the starter on Opening Day.

I’ve said before that I really want Johan to be the Mets starting pitcher on April 5th.  However, Santana should go on a rehab assignment for the first month of the season. That way, he can work on increasing his velocity, he can continue to perfect his pitches, and get more starts under his belt before Mets management considers the move back to the starting rotation.

What are your thoughts on the news from Terry Collins?  Should Johan get more work in before being called up?  Should he be the opening day starter?