Johan Santana can spend the next six months trying to shake off his aches and pains.

The Mets' 33-year-old left-hander will not pitch again this season, after the team yesterday placed him on the disabled list with an inflammation of the lower back. The decision to shut him down came after Mets brass received the results of an MRI exam taken on Tuesday.

"It's too bad I have to go down like this, but it's part of the game," Santana said before the Mets' 5-2loss to the Rockies last night.

Santana won't need surgery, according to general manager Sandy Alderson, but there was fear that allowing him to continue pitching might adversely affect Santana's surgically repaired left shoulder.