Originally posted on The Baseball Page  |  Last updated 8/23/12

As the New York Mets continue their slow march to the end of the regular season, one troubling trend that can't be ignored is the sudden decline of Mets starter Johan Santana. Santana, who delivered what looks to be the apex of the 2012 season with his no hitter on June 1st, has fallen into a tailspin since that game. Santana's ERA since his no hitter is well over 15 and he has hit the disabled list once with a sprained ankle. Rumors have also been swirling that Santana's arm is fatigued after a grueling first season back from shoulder surgery. The latest on the Mets ace and a lot more will be the focus of this week's Mets 101 News and Notes. Let's get started with:

Johan Santana Undergoes MRI on Back:

Johan Santana underwent an MRI on his back yesterday and the results will not be known until later today, ESPN New York's Adam Rubin reports. Santana's balky back appears to be the latest issue troubling the left hander, who has not looked the same since he threw his no-hitter back in June. Santana's start tomorrow appears to be in doubt, so the team has added Collin McHugh to the taxi squad for today's game. McHugh would be activated to the regular roster tomorrow if Santana cannot go. While McHugh could start for Santana tomorrow, the team is still sending out mixed signals about whether Santana will pitch at all for the remainder of the season. Manager Terry Collins has indicated that Santana would be on a strict pitch count of about 75-80 pitches if he takes the hill for the remainder of the season, but with so little to gain in this season you have to wonder whether it is worth risking further injury to send Santana out for a few short starts. This story is far from over, and we will keep you up to date on it here at Mets 101.

 

Terry Collins Holds Closed Door Meeting:

The Mets lost last night to the Colorado Rockies 6-2, marking their 12th loss in the last 14 games they've played at Citi Field. After the game Terry Collins held a closed door meeting with the team to address a perceived lack of effort down the stretch, ESPN New York's Andrew Marchand reports. Collins called the meeting after the team fell to nine games below .500 for the year and used the meeting to deliver a message about the current perception surrounding the struggling ball club. The Mets, who have gone 11-26 since the All Star Break, have faded out of contention and into irrelevance with the slide and some fans and reporters have wondered if the team has packed it in. Collins addressed the topic after the game by stating:

We have not packed it in. But, as I told our guys, 'perception is reality'. And when you sit on the outside and watch a game like tonight, perception is, 'they've packed it in'. And I won't stand for it. I believe in accountability. I believe in how you play the game right. I'm the manager here and you have a game like that, where it looks like they are not prepared, that's my fault. 

The Mets have stumbled down the stretch for six straight seasons, so it remains to be seen if this meeting will break up the malaise that has surrounded this club following the All Star Break.

Jenrry Mejia and Jeurys Familia Could Both Join Mets in September:

As August creeps to a close and September approaches, the Mets have begun to think about who they will promote to the big club when rosters expand to 40 players on September 1st. Two names to watch for could be Jenrry Mejia and Jeurys Familia, Adam Rosenbloom of MLB.com reports. Mejia has been mentioned as a potential rotation candidate in September should Santana be shut down for the season. Mejia was switched from the bullpen back to the rotation around the All Star Break and has thrived in the rotation for Buffalo, compiling a 2-1 record with a 1.05 ERA as a starter for the Bisons. Familia could join the major league bullpen in order to get a cup of coffee with the big club. Familia is 8-8 with a 4.65 ERA for the Bisons this season, and he has the flexibility to contribute to the big league club in either the rotation or the bullpen.

Mets Will Use Innings Caps for Young and Injured Pitchers:

One of the most controversial topics in baseball is the idea of an innings limit on developing pitchers. The idea has gained major attention this season following the Washington Nationals' declaration that ace Stephen Strasburg would be shut down at around 180 innings even though the franchise can bring playoff baseball to the nation's capital for the first time since 1933. The New York Mets face similar concerns on innings limits with some of their young pitchers, but the fact that the team is out of the playoff race will make enforcing those limits a lot easier. While much of the innings debate with the Mets has focused on protecting Santana and Chris Young, Andrew Keh of the New York Times reports that the Mets plan to implement innings limit on the team's two top young pitchers, Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler. Wheeler, who has thrown 137 innings between Binghamton and Buffalo this season, should be shut down for the year after he reaches about 150 innings pitched. That would put him in position to throw about 180-190 innings next season as he pushes for a spot in the major league rotation. Harvey has thrown 140 innings between Buffalo and the Mets this season, and GM Sandy Alderson confirmed that Harvey will be shut down when he reaches 170 innings pitched. Harvey's shut down is probably a wise decision for the club as pushing young pitchers when the team has nothing to play for is very risky. Harvey's shutdown, which should occur around the middle of September, will also allow Collins and team management to insert a young starter such as Familia, Mejia, or McHugh into the rotation to see how they fare against major league hitting.

 

 

Be sure to check out other great articles at Sports Media 101.

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