Santana still getting stronger

PORT ST. LUCIE — Johan Santana and the Mets were amply pleased with his latest outing.

The left-hander who missed the entire major-league season last year after shoulder surgery pitched 22/3 innings without allowing an earned run Sunday in New York's rain-shortened 4-2 loss to the Marlins.

The game was called after the fifth inning. Miami shortstop Jose Reyes, who left the Mets to sign with the Marlins in the offseason, did not make the trip.

"We're still building up pitches," Santana said. "I think once we get 80 to 90 pitches and do it every five days, that's when we'll say we're good."

The start was the second in exhibition play this spring for Santana. The two-time Cy Young Award winner had surgery in September 2010 and briefly pitched in the minors last year.

Santana gave up two hits and an unearned run in his 42-pitch outing, walking two and striking out one. The run against him came in the third after an error by third baseman Ronny Cedeno.

"I truly believe we're going to do this right and that Johan Santana will be on this team opening day," Mets manager Terry Collins said.

"He'll add 15 (pitches) to his next start, so he'll be at 60, 65. Next time out it'll be 80. What I'm seeing right now is a guy who's starting to get comfortable on the mound. He was just missing today, just off the plate."

In other Mets news, third baseman David Wright, who hasn't played this spring because of discomfort on the left side of his ribcage, was sent to New York to be examined by team doctors.

BRAVES: Right-hander Tommy Hanson made his delayed spring debut after sustaining a mild concussion in an auto accident in February and gave up three runs to the Blue Jays in a game between split squads that was postponed by rain. Hanson said he was having a hard time gripping the ball.

CARDINALS: Right-hander Chris Carpenter was diagnosed with a bulging cervical disc and isn't expected to miss much time. … Outfielder Allen Craig, who had surgery in November to repair a small fracture in his right kneecap, acknowledged that he's unlikely to be ready for the start of the regular season and is targeting May 1 for his return to the lineup.

CUBS: The team completed a five-year, $6 million deal with Cuban left-hander Gerardo Concepcion that includes a $3 million signing bonus. Concepcion, 20, defected to Mexico in June and became a major-league free agent in mid January.

INDIANS: First baseman Casey Kotchman, the former Ray and Seminole High standout, did not play because of tightness in his lower back.

MARLINS: Rightfielder Giancarlo (formerly Mike) Stanton was taken to a hospital for X-rays after being hit in the left wrist by a pitch, but X-rays were negative and his status is day to day.

NATIONALS: Leftfielder Michael Morse, out since Tuesday because of a mild strain of his right lat muscle, had a cortisone injection Saturday and hopes to return to the lineup today as DH.

ORIOLES: Right-handed reliever Jim Johnson, who has been sidelined by a back tightness, struck out two during a one-inning appearance in a "B" game in his first live action of the spring.

RED SOX: Leftfielder Carl Crawford, the former Rays All-Star who is rehabbing from January left wrist surgery, "had a full day's activity," manager Bobby Valentine said. "He's feeling good about his throwing. And he's just about ready, we don't want to say what day. It's a very monitored program he's on."

ROYALS: Right-handed reliever Jonathan Broxton tested his surgically repaired right elbow in a 'B' game against the Rangers, allowing three of the five batters he faced to reach base in his first outing since May. Broxton had arthroscopic elbow surgery in September to remove bone chips while with the Dodgers.

Santana still getting stronger 03/11/12 [Last modified: Sunday, March 11, 2012 7:45pm]

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