The Mets second game of the spring was as anticipated, if not more, than their first. Today for the first time almost a year and half, Johan Santana pitched for the New York Mets. The outcome... 2 scoreless innings during which Santana threw 29 pitches (17 for strikes), allowed one hit and gave up one walk. Most importantly, his arm didn't fly off and land in the stands!
Over the course of his two innings, Santana threw mostly fastballs which averaged 87-88 mph and peaked at 90 mph with one heater. Santana also sprinkled in a few sliders and one nasty change up that left Yadier Molina befuddled at the plate. Here are a few tweets from reporters and baseball analysts following Santana's work today:
As nearly everyone points out, it will be important for Santana to creep into the low 90s, so that he can have a healthy disparity between his fastball and his changeup. Generally speaking, a pitcher wants a 10 mph difference between those pitches, however should the changeup come in much slower than the low 80s, good major league hitters will be able to adjust to it.
Fortunately, at least at this point, velocity doesn't seem as though its going to be an issue. The next hurdle will be how Santana's shoulder responds tomorrow. Can he throw a bullpen session in two days and return to face the Miami Marlins on Sunday? Those will be the questions that the Mets and their fans will now wait on the answers for. For now, a successful first step in attempting to return a healthy Johan Santana to the opening day roster is in the past.
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