Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 7/21/12

Slumping New York Mets left-handed starter Johan Santana was placed on the 15-day disabled list Saturday with a sore right ankle.

Santana allowed six runs for his third straight start Friday and has struggled in general since his no-hitter on June 1.

Santana hurt his ankle July 6 when the Chicago Cubs' Reed Johnson stepped on it during a play at first base.

"We've pretty much determined the ankle issue is bigger than everyone realized," Mets manager Terry Collins said before Saturday's game against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Collins said the ankle pain has caused Santana to use just his arm to pitch, which has caused fatigue.

"As I told him this morning, there's no injury there (in the arm), but due to the fatigue, injury is possible," Collins said.

The Mets said Santana would comment after the game.

Santana is in the roughest stretch of his career in which he is 0-3 with a 13.50 ERA in his last three starts. His latest effort resulted in a 7-6 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers. His three-inning outing was the second-shortest of his career. He allowed seven hits, including home runs by Matt Kemp and Luis Cruz, as well as a four-pitch, bases-loaded walk.

Santana missed all of last season after having left shoulder surgery in September 2010. He was in the midst of a great comeback this season when he tossed a no-hitter on June 1. However, he is 3-5 with a 6.54 ERA in eight starts since throwing the no-hitter, the first in Mets history.

Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said Santana's arm fatigue is not tied to the 134-pitch no-hitter.

Right-handed pitcher Jeremy Hefner was called up to take Santana's spot on the roster. Alderson said Matt Harvey, their top pitching prospect, is a possibility to take Santana's start next Wednesday, but did not rule out Hefner.

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