Johan Santana's spring debut moved to mid-March
Santana missed all of 2011 following shoulder surgery. In 2012, Santana went 6-9 with a 4.85 ERA in 117 innings pitched at 21 starts. However, he threw the Mets first franchise no-hitter on June 1. He did not pitch again after his five=inning, six earned run loss to the Washington Nationals on August 17 after a diagnosis of lower back inflammation.
On Sunday, Santana threw off a mound for the first time since that appearance and said he felt normal after the 20-pitch session. Alderson expects him to make his first appearance around March 10-12 and is positive that he will be ready for the start of the 2013 season.
"There's no structural issue. It's just a matter of building up strength," Alderson said. "He'll be long-tossing before he gets back on the mound. We expect that his schedule will have been delayed somewhat."
Santana is 139-78 with a 3.20 ERA in 360 career games and 284 starts. He is 46-34 with a 3.18 ERA in four seasons with the Mets, but has not pitched more than 200 innings in a season since 2008.
''We expected he would have had a normal offseason and he did have a normal offseason with the exception of not throwing,'' Alderson went on to say of the 33-year-old left-hander.
Santana enters the 2013 season in the final guaranteed year of his contract. It is expected that the Mets will pay the $5.5 million buyout after the season and avoid the $25 million option for 2014.
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