Sandy Alderson told reporters today the Mets Spring Complex, that left-hander Johan Santana‘s first Grapefruit League start would be pushed back by as much as two weeks.
Alderson said that there was no structural issue and that it is just a matter of building up strength in Santana’s arm. Initially, Santana was scheduled to make his first Grapefruit League appearance on March 2nd, but a lack of velocity during his last bullpen session raised concerns.
The Mets ace says he is in no pain, but obviously this is something to keep an eye on and it now appears he will be not be ready to make his Opening Day start on April 1st as was announced last week by Terry Collins.
The delay will push him back to a probable March 10th or 12th appearance – not nearly enough time to build up to a regular start two weeks after that.
According to the Mets GM, Santana will do some long-tossing once he gets back on a mound and no timetable for his return will be set until further evaluation.
Santana, 33, has not pitched in a game since being shutdown by the Mets last August and was prescribed rest for the offseason.
We’ll keep you posted as this story further develops, but it looks to me that Jon Niese could now be the Mets’ Opening Day starter.