Johan Santana could rejoin the Mets rotation next week, but first he must complete a rehabilitation assignment on Sunday. Santana will throw three innings for Class-A Brooklyn, general manager Sandy Alderson said before tonight's game against the Padres. Alderson set Saturday as a potential return date.

Santana (sprained ankle) came through his bullpen session today without incident. Manager Terry Collins indicated Santana "feels great." Santana required a stint on the disabled list after a catastrophic start on July 20, a three-inning, seven-run disaster against the Dodgers.

The rest helped more than his ankle. Collins has heard from the team's rehabilitation coordinators that Santana's surgically-repaired right shoulder has responded well to the break. Santana has already thrown 110 2/3 innings this year in 19 starts. Before the season, team officials set 150 innings over 25 starts as an unofficial goal.

So Santana will be back soon. The question that remains is when.