On second thought, Johan Santana has begun throwing a baseball

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The other night I wrote that Johan Santana was focusing on arm strengthening exercises before picking up a baseball. Turns out that wasn’t completely accurate.

Mets pitching coach Dan Warthen told Adam Rubin of ESPN New York earlier today that Santana has already played catch three times while rehabbing near his home in Florida.

Mets officials have told Rubin that Santana could potentially return in June or July, but Warthen said that he doesn’t want the ace left-hander to push himself too soon.

“I just don’t want him, because of who he is, to push himself to try to get there too early and have another setback,” Warthen said. “We knew two years ago when he had the bone chips that he wasn’t ready to come out. We had to talk him into that. And even last year he wasn’t going to go out in that game [against the Braves]. That’s who Johan is. Common sense has to prevail somewhere.”

Santana, who turns 32 next month, is still owed $77.5 million guaranteed over the next three years.