Johan bowls a strike for foundation

Johan bowls a strike for foundation

NEW YORK -- Throwing strikes is nothing new for Johan Santana.

The Mets' ace took his game away from the baseball diamond and into the bowling alley to throw a different kind of strike Monday night, all in the name of raising money for his charity, the Johan Santana Foundation, which was established to raise funds and build awareness for skin cancer.

Lucky Strike in Manhattan hosted the Johan Santana All-Star Bowling Classic, with proceeds of the event going to outreach programs in the United State and abroad.

"As a Venezuelan, I know what I'm coming from and the things that we have to overcome to be here," Santana said. "I know my roots, and I know everything I had gone through to get here. It's important to give back."

Sponsors of the event bought a couple of hours of lane time, and attendees were encouraged to bid on a large collection of memorabilia.

Autographed baseballs, footballs, jerseys, bats and cleats were displayed on tables that stretched from one end of the alley to the other. The gear wasn't just limited to Mets players or even baseball players, as autographs from Peyton Manning, Ray Allen and many more were available to help raise money for the foundation.

Among the Mets players who showed up to help Santana out on their off-day was Mike Pelfrey, David Wright, Francisco Rodriguez, Alex Cora, Henry Blanco, Jesus Feliciano and Chris Carter.

"This is a team effort on and off the field," Santana said.

The left-hander kicked off the action by rolling his bowling ball, designed to look like a baseball, down the first lane knocking down a modest seven pins.

Though the group had never bowled together before, Pelfrey was thought to be the best bowler of the bunch, but Santana, always a competitor, recalled some of his past bowling highlights.

"The last time I went bowling, I bowled a 160 and they told me that was very good," Santana said. "I don't think that's going to happen again, but we'll all have a good time.

"I think I'm better than Henry Blanco. As long as I beat Blanco, I'll be good."

Santana started his foundation in 2006 as a way to support youth baseball and other children's charities in Venezuela. In summer 2007, Santana held his first bowling event as a tribute to Lynne Greenberg, the wife of one of his agents, Ed Greenberg, who had passed away from melanoma, according to the foundation's website.

Kyle Maistri is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.