Terry Collins thinks Johan Santana could be back before the end of July

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Johan Santana hasn’t even thrown to live hitters yet, so we should probably be a little careful about timetables, but Mets manager Terry Collins predicts that the southpaw could be back by the end of next month.

In fact, according to Adam Rubin of ESPN.com, Collins won’t even rule out Santana’s return immediately following the All-Star break.

“Is it realistic? Yeah. That would be realistic. Should we plan on it? I don’t know if we should. In a perfect world, if everything continues at the pace it is right now, it’s a realistic goal. But I’m probably looking more toward the end of July than the All-Star break.”

It’s a nice thought either way, but when is the last time that a Mets’ player returned on schedule from an injury? Pardon my cynicism, as it’s sometimes an unfortunate side effect of being a Mets fan these days, but let’s wait until he, you know, actually pitches in a minor league game or two.

Dave Roberts: It “doesn’t make sense” for Scott Kazmir to start year in Dodgers’ rotation

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Scott Kazmir won’t begin the regular season in the Dodgers’ starting rotation. Manager Dave Roberts said after Kazmir’s Cactus League outing on Sunday that it “doesn’t make sense” for the ailing Kazmir to break camp in the rotation, Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times reports. The lefty will instead rehab some more and join the rotation at a later time.

Kazmir has been battling a hip issue which has caused his mechanics to suffer. He was clocked in the low 80’s 10 days ago and wasn’t much better on Sunday afternoon.

Last season with the Dodgers, Kazmir posted a 4.56 ERA with a 134/52 K/BB ratio in 136 1/3 innings, his worst numbers since returning to the majors in 2013.

Robert Gsellman wins spot in Mets’ rotation

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Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that Robert Gsellman has won the No. 4 spot in the Mets’ starting rotation. He adds that the Mets are likely to play things cautiously with lefty Steven Matz. The fifth and final rotation spot will go to either Zack Wheeler or Seth Lugo.

Gsellman, 23, has had a great spring. The right-hander has allowed three earned runs on 15 hits and four walks with nine strikeouts in 17 1/3 innings. That is on the heels of seven solid starts at the end of the 2016 season during which he yielded 12 earned runs on 40 hits and 12 walks with 40 strikeouts in 41 innings.

Matz, 25, is dealing with irritation in his left elbow. He had surgery in October to remove a bone spur and was a Tommy John patient several years ago. It sounds like the Mets are leaning towards having him start the season on the disabled list.

Wheeler, 26, isn’t having a great spring. He’s surrendered seven runs in 7 1/3 innings. Lugo has given up three earned runs in seven spring innings and also looked solid in the World Baseball Classic although he took the loss in the final against the United States.