Terry Collins spoke about Johan Santana with a mixture of relief and admiration Monday afternoon. The Mets’ manager met with Santana that morning, a day after the lefthander gave a surprise performance off the mound in the bullpen, a seeming attempt to quiet the rumblings about his fitness.
Said Collins, “I asked him: ‘What did you get on the mound for.’ He said, ‘Because I felt good.’ (I) said it was unnecessary.”
Added Collins, with a smile: “He understood what (Sunday) was about. Again, in retrospect, he knows he could have handled it a little bit differently. He’s fine. He wanted to show everybody he is fine.”
In the end, Collins and the Mets were just relieved that Santana came through the light bullpen session in good shape.
The health of Santana, who missed all of 2011 because of shoulder surgery and was shut down last August with a weak shoulder, has been the center of attention here since his Grapefruit League debut was pushed back almost two weeks ago because his arm wasn’t ready.

Santana, who threw a career-high 134 pitches in the Mets’ first no-hitter last June, did not pitch over his extended offseason.
Some in the Mets’ organization were unhappy that he was not ready to to pitch when he reported to camp. Santana explained that the rest was necessary to get his arm ready.
General manager Sandy Alderson generated headlines on Saturday by saying the fact that Santana was not in pitching shape was obvious, since he was not pitching. He speculated that Santana was 10 days away from throwing off the mound.


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