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Santana to make return to bigs on opening day

PORT ST. LUCIE — After a spring full of injury-related news, finally some relief for the Mets: Johan Santana will start on opening day.

The left-hander, returning from shoulder surgery performed in September 2010, met with manager Terry Collins in his office Sunday. Later, Collins announced that Santana was set to pitch at home against the Braves.

"After we talked to Johan (on Saturday) after he threw, I walked by him, and he said to me at the end, 'You've got your pitcher for Thursday,' " Collins said.

Santana made his last spring training start March 26 against St. Louis and worked a brief bullpen session Saturday.

"It means a lot," the two-time Cy Young Award winner said. "It means that everything we've done from surgery to today has paid off. We worked hard, and I'm very happy."

Santana, 33, was 0-1 with a 3.44 ERA in five exhibition starts.

In other Mets news, right-hander R.A. Dickey needed two stitches in his right heel after being spiked during a 9-2 loss to a Tigers split squad.

FEUD BREWING: Indians right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez nailed former teammate Troy Tulowitzki in the left elbow, causing Cleveland and the Rockies to clear the benches. Tulowitzki was hospitalized for precautionary X-rays. Jimenez recently said he was upset he didn't receive an extension from the Rockies while Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez got new deals. Tulowitzki responded that Jimenez needed to get over it.

In other Indians news, shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera is close to signing a two-year, $16.5 million contract extension, Fox Sports reported. Former All-Star infielder Jose Lopez, outfielder Aaron Cunningham and right-hander Jairo Asencio claimed the final roster spots.

REDS-BRAVES TRADE: Cincinnati traded third baseman Juan Francisco to Atlanta for right-handed reliever J.J. Hoover.

A'S: Left-hander Dallas Braden, who had surgery nearly 11 months ago to repair a torn anterior capsule in his pitching shoulder, strained the shoulder while playing catch last week and was shut down indefinitely.

PADRES: Right-hander Edinson Volquez was named the opening day starter. Right-hander Tim Stauffer was expected to start but is bothered by a sore right triceps, manager Bud Black said.

PIRATES: Right-hander A.J. Burnett, recovering from a fractured right orbital bone, threw 54 pitches in a minor-league exhibition game, giving up one hit in four innings.

RED SOX: Left-hander Felix Doubront and right-hander Daniel Bard will fill out the starting rotation, with right-hander Alfredo Aceves headed to the bullpen. Doubront has a 4.84 ERA in 23 major-league appearances. Bard has never started in the majors. … New closer Andrew Bailey, who had an assortment of injuries his past two seasons with the A's, could miss the start of this season with soreness in his right thumb.

TIGERS: Left-hander Drew Smyly, 22, was named the fifth starter. Smyly, who has yet to pitch above Double A, is scheduled to make his first major-league start April 12 against the Rays.

Santana to make return to bigs on opening day 04/01/12 [Last modified: Sunday, April 1, 2012 9:09pm]
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