Johan Santana continues to progress and impress on his way back from shoulder surgery that sidelined him for the 2011 season. Yesterday Santana threw 29 pitches over his two innings of work during his Grapefruit League debut against the St. Louis Cardinals.
A little over a week ago, Santana was able to throw 72 pitches during a bullpen session. His next step was facing live hitters when he logged two simulated innings for the Mets. It was the first time Santana had thrown in a game-like setting since September.
But the Mets realized that each of these steps were baby-size when compared to their lefty making his first Grapefruit League start. New York admitted that Santana’s progress would not be known until after he made it through his first outing of the spring.
Not only did Santana make it through his two-inning appearance, but the veteran starter said he felt good following the outing. Santana was able to throw 17 of his 29 pitches for strikes; allowing a hit while striking out none and walking a single batter.
Santana’s fastball was sitting steadily in the 87-88 mph range but one pitch reportedly did reach 90. While velocity is important, Santana said that he was more focused on feeling good throughout his first appearance. Santana mixed in changeups and sliders, but mostly worked his fastball Tuesday.
The next step for Santana will be a routine bullpen session later this week. If his arm responds well to yesterday’s start and the bullpen session, Santana is scheduled to make his next appearance Sunday.
New York is hoping this cycle of good news continues through Opening Day, when the Amazin’s are hoping Santana can take the mound against the Atlanta Braves.
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