Mets left-hander Johan Santana made his first minor league rehab start on Thursday evening at High-A St. Lucie. And the results were mostly positive.
According to David Lennon of Newsday, Santana allowed just two hits and no runs over three strong innings. He threw 33 pitches, 26 of which were strikes, fanning three batters without issuing a walk.
Santana told reporters after the start that he felt strong while on the mound and had no problems at all with his surgically-repaired shoulder. But some concern remains within the Mets’ organization.
Bob Klapisch of the Bergen Record spoke Thursday night to Mets rehab coordinator Randy Niemann, who opined that Santana is a very different pitcher than he was before the surgery. Niemann also suggested that the left-hander’s throwing shoulder is not physically ready to handle major league competition.
But perhaps that will change with time.
Santana is likely to spend close to a month in the minors and probably won’t be activated until late August.
The Phillies announced that they’ve optioned right-hander Hector Neris to Triple-A Lehigh Valley.
Nerris, who saved 26 games as the Phillies closer in 2017 and ten games in that role this year, has struggled this year, posting a 6.00 ERA in 30 appearances. While his strikeout and walk rates aren’t too far off what he was doing last year his hit rate has spiked and he’s currently allowing 10.3 safeties per nine. The wheels have come off of late, as he has allowed nine runs on 15 hits — five of them homers — over his last eight innings of work. Yesterday he allowed four runs in the ninth inning of a game the Phillies had led by five.
It was clear that Gabe Kapler had lost faith in Neris as a result, using him almost exclusively in low-leverage situations. That changed on Saturday, as Kapler used him in a save situation and said after the game that they were easing him back into his role. That plan obviously changed after yesterday’s meltdown.
Seranthony Dominguez had been getting the call in save situations. He’ll get them more now.