Originally posted on MetsZilla  |  Last updated 1/6/12

During a conference call with the teams beat writers yesterday afternoon, New York Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said Johan Santana is in a “normal progression” for spring training and “he should be ready to go at that point.”

I didn’t want to set off alarms the last time I talked about this, but we are talking about someone who is coming off a long rehab. I think ultimately the questions are going to be answered in spring training, not beforehand — answered in terms of his ability to come back and pitch consistently on normal days’ rest. We expect that to be the case. We have no reason to believe right now that it won’t be the case, or any specific reason why it won’t be the case. …

Photo taken by Michael Baron

Right now we expect him to go through a normal spring training, but I think the ultimate test is going to be how he responds and whether he’s able to come back on normal days’ rest. I don’t think that’s anything we can predict with any accuracy. I certainly can’t assure you that’s going to happen, but that’s certainly what we hope and right now what we expect.”

According to Adam Rubin of ESPN New York, “the Mets have enough confidence in Santana’s health that they are not seeking much more outside starting pitching help.” I wish I could say I was that confident.  Personally, I am still very skeptical on Santana. In the 2011 MetsZilla predictions post, I predicted Johan would miss the entire season; and although it sucked, I was right. And so, I refuse to put much hope into a healthy return for 2012.

Besides hoping for his health, we still have to wonder what Johan we will be getting.  Will he be able to return to the dominate pitcher he once was? Or, will he become the crafty veteran Pedro Martinez was with the Mets? With a steady decrease in his fastball velocity and coming off major shoulder surgery, we can only hope for the latter.

However, if your a bit pessimistic like I am, then check out this must read post by Rich Coutinho (click here) who sheds some optimism about the former Cy-Young Award winner:

In all my years of covering the Mets, I do not know if I ever met anyone like Santana. He is a confident pitcher who understands his responsibility and embraces it. And nobody wants to get back on the mound more than Johan. He has spent the winter moving towards the goal of being ready for Spring Training and my sense is that he will be ready. What can we expect from him? That is hard to say, but consider this: Santana has always been the type of pitcher that wins as much with his mind as his arm. He possesses the best change-up in the league and that will go a long way towards getting him back on track.”

 

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