ATLANTA -- The soft part of the schedule is nearly complete for left-hander Johan Santana, who made his third start of the season Tuesday on an extra day of rest. Santana has one more start scheduled on an extra day, before his first outing on regular rest coming April 28.
Though the Mets privately kicked around the idea of using a spot starter for that game, manager Terry Collins has no intention of scratching Santana from any outing unless the left-hander requests it. Because Santana has been so honest with him throughout his rehab from left-shoulder surgery, Collins trusts him.
"That's where I think Johan has been the greatest help as far as we've gone through this thing," Collins said. "He's been pretty honest the entire way with us. He knows the importance."
Extra rest has allowed Santana to follow each of his outings this season with a complete off-day, before ramping up his throwing on the second and third day between starts, then resting on the fourth and fifth. A generous April schedule has allowed the Mets to pencil Santana in for that extra day after each of his first four starts, and five of his first six.
"And that's worked out great," Collins said.
The lone exception will come April 28 in Denver, when Santana will start for the first time on regular rest against the Rockies. The week leading up to that outing will mark the first time Santana does not take a complete off-day immediately following a start.
Regardless, the Mets are not concerned with Santana's ability to bounce back. The left-hander was on a maximum pitch count of 115 for Tuesday's game, after throwing 84 and 99 pitches in his first two starts, respectively.
"What we were hoping to have happen with the extra day has happened," Collins said. "It's allowed him to get an extra day before he has to do the throwing programs, which he's done."