Johan Santana, who pitched the first no-hitter in Mets history last Friday, will be getting a bit of extra rest before his next start, which will come this Friday night against the Yankees at Yankee Stadium.
Santana threw a career-high 134 pitches in blanking the Cardinals 8-0 in the 8,020th game in Mets history, now in its 51st season. With the former Cy Young Award-winning pitcher having missed all of last season after undergoing shoulder surgery, Mets manager Terry Collins anguished over allowing his ace to take a shot at baseball immortality despite the high pitch count.
"In five days, if his arm is bothering him, I'm not going to feel very good," Collins said right after the game, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The Mets announced during Monday’s 5-4 loss to St. Louis that Santana would be pushed back two days. His fifth-day would have had him starting on Wednesday night against the Nationals.
Santana and R.A. Dickey, who followed Santana’s gem with a shutout of his own on Saturday, both threw side sessions on Monday, after which Collins announced the following pitching rotation for the week.
Chris Young, who hasn’t started a major league game in 13 months after undergoing shoulder surgery, will start for New York against the Nationals on Tuesday, with rookie Jeremy Hefner replacing Santana on Wednesday and Dickey in his regular slot on Thursday.
Santana will then get the series opener against the Yankees, adding extra spice to the inter-league rivalry matchup. Dillon Gee will pitch for the Mets at the Stadium on Saturday, and Jonathan Niese on Sunday.
Niese, who left the game this past Sunday after having an elevated heart rate during his victory over the Cards, is also getting an additional two days of rest.
According to a story in Monday’s New York Daily News, Santana’s pitch count in his next start will be “a lot less,” Collins said.
Meanwhile, the king of no-hitters, ex-Met Nolan Ryan — who pitched seven of them after leaving New York — said there was no reason to fret over Santana’s high-stress effort.
“I never think about that, no,” Ryan said when asked if he would have considered Santana’s pitch count in deciding whether he should go for the no-no, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Ryan, who once threw 245 pitches in a game, said Santana’s effort “tells you how well he’s come back from his surgery.”
Former Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa and Mets COO Jeff Wilpon both told Collins on Saturday that he had done the right thing. And Santana himself was more than on board.
“You can spend your whole career and never have a chance to do it,” Santana told The New York Times. “When I had that situation there, I knew I had to take the most out of it, and then we’ll figure it all out tomorrow.”
—JOE GREENE, NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM.COM