Mets manager Terry Collins implied earlier this month that he planned on Johan Santana starting Opening Day against the Braves on April 5, saying “in my mind, in my heart, he’ll be ready.” Or at least that’s what we thought he meant.
Collins clarified his comments yesterday, telling Andy Martino of the New York Daily News that he feels Santana will be with the team on Opening Day, but not necessarily as the starting pitcher. The rehabbing left-hander is being lined up for the season opener, but the team wants to leave the door open in case he needs extra rest.
“I have not decided who is pitching Opening Day,” Collins told The News on Friday. “Now, my point is, right now, as we get through spring training, we may have to make adjustments. If Johan is, ‘Hey, look, I’ll be ready,’ but maybe he needs to pitch game two or game three or game four, we will adjust.”
Santana allowed five runs — four earned — over 2 2/3 innings yesterday against the Tigers
, but was regularly hitting 90-91 mph on the radar gun and didn’t have any issues with his surgically repaired shoulder. Heck, if someone told you a month ago that Santana would be healthy enough to start the season on the active roster, they would have been met with immediate skepticism. So the fact that this is even a story at this point is pretty encouraging.
Cardinals right-handed pitching prospect Griffin Roberts has been suspended 50 games following his second positive test for a drug of abuse, according to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Roberts, 22, is currently ranked the Cardinals’ tenth-best prospect by MLB Pipeline. He was selected in the first round of the 2018 draft and signed for a $1.66 million bonus, after which he split his first year in pro ball between the rookie-level GCL Cardinals and High-A Palm Beach Cardinals. He finished his run in 2018 with a combined seven runs, four walks, and 13 strikeouts in 9 2/3 innings across the two levels, and projects as a potential major-league starter (or solid righty reliever) after touching up his fastball-slider combo and proving he can command the ball on a consistent basis.
Whether he’ll emerge from A-level ball with a more concrete idea of his future role with the team will have to wait until he’s reinstated from the restricted list. He should be eligible to rejoin the Cardinals’ minor league affiliate sometime in mid- to late-May 2019.