“So, from my standpoint, his arm is fine, as far as we know. Was he ready to pitch when he came into camp? No. Even he may have been a little surprised by that. So that leaves us where we are today. And where we are today is getting him ready to pitch as soon as we possibly can. We haven’t rule out Opening Day, although given when we think he might get on the mound, it becomes less and less likely. We haven’t given up on that notion yet. And we’ll see where it takes us.”
After missing all of the 2011 season, Johan Santana returned to form quickly in 2012. He threw five shut-out innings in his first start on April 5 and carried a 2.76 ERA through the end of June. Unfortunately, the injury problems began to mount. An ankle sprain in July forced him to miss 24 games and cut into his effectiveness. In his final five starts, ending August 17, he had a 15.63 ERA in 19 innings. He was shut down for the rest of the season due to lower back inflammation.
If Santana, who turns 34 on March 13, is unable to get ready by Opening Day, 26-year-old lefty Jonathon Niese will likely get the nod.