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Probably Time To Get Excited About Johan Santana

Posted By Howard Megdal On March 23, 2012 @ 11:06 am In Spring Training,Today's Mets headlines | Comments Disabled

So it is more than just careful managing of expectations, or the natural inclination to assume that something will go wrong because it’s the Mets, to hang back from the fantasy that Johan Santana will return to the Mets in 2012 as the dominating ace we all remember.
But those very rational stumbling blocks are disappearing, one at a time. And the unlikely reality is growing likelier every day.
Consider the problems: less that 18 months after complicated shoulder surgery, could Santana manage to throw without pain, then do so again and again? Once he did, how long could his outings last? Would his velocity return? How about his command? And finally, could he put all of those together consistently?
Well, we’re four out of five here.
Wednesday, Santana threw again. He’s been on an every-fifth-day schedule, bullpens in between, and hasn’t missed one. (Problem one overcome.) He threw six innings on Wednesday, easily on pace to be at full starter load for the regular season. (Problem two, check.) His velocity has been up around 90 miles per hour, a level at which he succeeded in both 2009 and 2010, and early enough to think it could even jump another 1-2 MPH and return to 2008 levels. (Problem three, solved.) He struck out six on Wednesday, walked none, and was hyper-efficient, like the old Santana. (Problem four gloriously defeated.)
So now he needs to do it again, and again, and again and again. That fourth again, if you are keeping score at home, would be on Opening Day. Whatever the team’s other faults, just seeing Santana be Santana every fifth day is enough to make any Mets fan that much happier to see Opening Day approach.

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