Johan Santana will make his first Grapefruit League next Thursday, March 14, when the Mets play the Detroit Tigers, according to John Delcos of Metsmerized Online. That would leave three starts before the start to the season.
Pitching coach Dan Warthen told Delcos that Santana is making progress after throwing a long-toss session on Monday and that notable gains have been made on velocity and arm strength.
Terry Collins said that both he and Johan Santana are on the same page now, though the left-hander was silent yesterday after learning of the death of Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez.
Regarding the slow start by some of the players expected to head North with the team, Collins has expressed concern about the offense. “We’re not swinging the bats very good,’’ he said. “But, we still have around 40 at-bats (per starter) to go.’’ He’s hoping to see some improvement across the board with three weeks to go, but particularly with hitters making more contact. Collin Cowgill and Jordany Valdespin are the hottest hitters in camp and yesterday against Venezuela, Spin was in center field after playing mostly second base with the absence of Daniel Murphy in Grapefruit League play.
Murphy, sidelined with a strained right side muscle, played catch, took grounders and hit in the cage on Wednesday. He followed that up by saying he didn’t have a timetable for when he’d take live batting practice and appear in a game.