It is neither a setback, nor a concern. The Mets simply see no reason for Santana to risk injury in a Grapefruit League or Minor League game, given how healthy he has been all spring.
Rather than appear in a game, Santana will throw approximately 40 pitches Saturday in a simulated setting. Miguel Batista will start against the Marlins in Santana's place.
Though manager Terry Collins was unaware of the plan on Wednesday afternoon, he is in favor of any action that will limit Santana's injury risk.
"You don't have to back up bases in those sim games," Collins quipped.
As for Batista, the 41-year-old's starting assignment all but guarantees that he will make the team. If the Mets do not cut Batista by Friday, they are locked into paying a $100,000 retention bonus to keep him in camp. With fellow right-handers D.J. Carrasco and Pedro Beato both likely to start the season on the disabled list, Batista figures to slot into the Opening Day bullpen as a long man.