Santana throws 31 pitches, feels 'fine'
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- New York Mets ace Johan Santana said he was OK after throwing a bullpen session Sunday morning, and the team decided against sending him to snowy New York for an MRI on his balky left elbow.
"He felt he was fine, so he's not going to New York as planned," general manager Omar Minaya said. "He'll be seen by our doctors when they come down. It was the weather also."
Santana long-tossed with new closer Francisco Rodriguez before heading to the bullpen for a 15-minute session with catcher Omir Santos. The 29-year-old left-hander threw 31 pitches hours before New York's 13-1 win over the Houston Astros.
"This is the first time in the last four days that I've thrown, but I feel fine and don't think there should be any problems," Santana said.
"I just tried to throw some fastballs and changeups to see how my arm feels. Everything was fine. The more pitches I threw, the better I felt."
Before the bullpen session, Minaya said Santana was heading to New York on Monday's off day for an MRI on his left elbow, calling the exam "precautionary."
After the team decided to keep him in Florida, Mets spokesman Jay Horwitz said Santana wasn't scheduled for an MRI.
Doctors have told Santana that an irritated triceps tendon is causing the discomfort in his elbow, but pitching coach Dan Warthen said the two-time Cy Young Award winner didn't appear to be favoring anything during his bullpen session.
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"He had his normal delivery and long stride, probably working at 80-85 percent," said Warthen, who stood in the batter's box during part of Santana's session. "I thought he was right where he should be."
Santana said coming in to training camp he had hoped to pitch for his native Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic.
"Somehow you have to find a way to get ready," he said, "but at the same time, I was throwing bullpens every other day. It was too much throwing too soon.
"Once [the Mets] said I wasn't going to participate in the WBC, we backed off a little bit. But there's been a lot of throwing the last couple of weeks. That was part of the plan we had."
Santana said he will take a few days off before pitching again, making him more unlikely for opening day on April 6 in Cincinnati.
"I think he tried to push too hard too soon," Warthen said. "I don't think the workload made any difference. It was the same for everyone else -- throwing 30-35 pitches every other day and then two days off."
The Mets signed Santana to a $137.5 million, six-year contract last February after acquiring him in a trade with Minnesota.
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press
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