Johan Santana still hoping to pitch for Mets this season

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Setbacks in his recovery from shoulder surgery ruined Johan Santana’s plans to join the Mets by mid-August, but the two-time Cy Young winner is still holding out some hope of pitching in the majors before the end of the season.

Santana resumed his minor-league rehab assignment Saturday at Single-A with two innings of one-run ball and, barring another setback, is scheduled to make his second rehab start Friday.

Because the minor-league season is coming to an end any further pitching will have to be in instructional leagues or, if Santana gets his wish, with the Mets.

Assistant general manager John Ricco smartly told Andy McCullough of the Newark Star Ledger that the Mets’ priority is getting Santana ready for 2012 rather than making sure he can make at least one appearance this season, but did admit that “we’ll have to get creative because the minor-league seasons will end.”

Watch: Brian McCann’s incredible tag nails Greg Bird at home plate

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Things got a little wild in the fifth inning of Game 7 of the ALCS on Saturday. With one out and runners at the corners, Astros’ right-hander Charlie Morton fired a 1-1 fastball to Todd Frazier. Frazier returned the ball to third baseman Alex Bregman, who tossed a perfect throw over to Brian McCann at the plate just as Greg Bird came charging home. McCann’s setup was flawless, nailing Bird as he slid into the plate and nullifying the Yankees’ first real attempt to get on the board.

That’s as close as the Yankees have come to scoring so far. The Astros took an early 1-0 lead with Evan Gattis‘ 405-footer off of CC Sabathia in the top of the fourth inning. Jose Altuve chimed in with an opposite-field solo shot in the fifth, while McCann followed his lead-preserving tag with an equally jaw-dropping two-out, two-RBI double. Houston currently leads 4-0 in the bottom of the fifth.