While almost everything around him was a little unusual Sunday, Johan Santana finally got back to normal.
The Mets’ lefthander threw off a mound for the first time since last August, with a group of curious team big-wigs, bundled up against a rare cold and windy day in South Florida, standing along the fence watching anxiously behind him at Tradition Field.
“Today, it was a beginning for me,” Santana said. “You always worry about how you feel and everything, but at the same time I was just trying to get my job done and not trying to overdo things out there.”
Santana said he felt fine after the 20-pitch workout in the chilly, windy conditions and that he was on track. He is scheduled to start Opening Day, April 1 against the Padres at Citi Field.
Santana will pitch another bullpen session, work his way up to facing live batters in batting practice and then get ready to make a spring training start. Terry Collins penciled Santana in to start March 2 against the Marlins in Port St. Lucie.
First, Collins – and seemingly almost everyone else at the complex – wanted to see Santana make those first pitches off the mound. With owner Fred Wilpon and front office personnel watching closely as Santana threw to bullpen catcher Dave Racaniello, it was anything but a normal spring training bullpen session.
“It wasn’t routine with everybody standing there watching him, but it’s routine in the sense he’s going about it in the way he always wants to go about it, the way he is used to going about it,” Collins said. “A couple of long tosses, get on the mound, start the process of getting ready to pitch in a game. That’s exactly what he did today. We know he’s healthy, we know he’s rested, make sure he doesn’t skip a beat, which I don’t think he’s going to.”
The lefthander, who is in the last year of his contract, understands the curiosity. He admitted to feeling some nerves taking the mound.

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