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.”

Shohei Ohtani no longer facing Masahiro Tanaka on Sunday at Yankee Stadium

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Shohei Ohtani has essentially become the Angels’ designated Sunday starting pitcher, but Angels manager Mike Scioscia announced Thursday morning that the 23-year-old two-way Japanese star will be skipped in the rotation this weekend at Yankee Stadium for “workload management” purposes.

Ohtani is fine to continue hitting, so there’s no sense of any physical ailment.

This decision will rob us — and the Japanese media — of a showdown between Ohtani and countrymate Masahiro Tanaka. And for that we are rather devastated, but you can understand the Angels’ concerns about overuse.

Ohtani has registered a 3.35 ERA, 1.066 WHIP, and 52/14 K/BB ratio through his first 40 1/3 innings (seven starts) as a major league pitcher and he’s slashing .308/.364/.582 with six home runs and 19 RBI in 26 games as a part-time DH.