Throwing for the first time since his elbow surgery on September 1, and off a major league mound for the first time since August 20, Johan Santana became expressive when a change-up left his fingertips and showed the action that hitters typically hate.
“I felt pretty good,” said Santana. “The ball was coming out pretty good. And I don’t feel anything in my arm, so I think everything should be all right.”
It was only twenty five pitches over a span of six minutes, but it seemed to be the best news the New York Mets have had this offseason.
It’s been Omar Minaya’s winter of discontent and so far he has only seen the worst of times. Hard to believe that Omar is pulling the strings anymore, especially with his job on the line.
Minaya has been unable to improve the team externally even with Jason Bay on board. And Bay, even with his power bat, didn’t seem to fit into the Mets offseason plans of speed and defense. Sure, the Mets have a use for Bay as their paltry home run totals would suggest, but their new run production won’t be as much of an issue as run reduction.
In other words, the Mets added Bay at the expense of negotiating with John Lackey. They let Jason Marquis, the only Jason who really wanted to play in Queens, sign with the Washington Nationals. They hardly made a move on Randy Wolf and Joel Piniero opted for the Anaheim Angels.
Now the Mets are looking at the mentally challenged Oliver Perez and Mike Pelfrey, the oft injured John Maine, and journeyman Fernando Nieve to make up the rotation behind two time Cy Young winner Santana.
Also, the Mets are stockpiling backup catchers but were spurned by the one they really wanted—Bengie Molina. Molina decided that he’d rather play for less in San Francisco than take more to be a part of this dysfunctional organization.
So while the Mets will scramble to try to land a 42-year old, washed up, John Smoltz, at least Omar Minaya and the Wilpons can take some solace in the fact that Santana feels healthy.
"He looked good," Omar Minaya said. "He's loose and excited, and we are excited about that."
But that’s about the only thing to be excited about.