In trying to diagnose just what went wrong, manager Terry Collins said that Santana's pregame bullpen session Tuesday actually might have been his best of the season.
"It just didn't carry out on the mound," Collins said, referring to the six runs Santana allowed over 1 1/3 innings. "I'm sure Johan will be fine when he goes out there in five more days, but then after that, we need to take a look at him."
The Mets will monitor Santana closely in the days following his next outing, if only because it will be the first time he will be preparing for a start on regular rest. Santana had the luxury of a complete day off on Wednesday, as he has the day after each of his first three starts. But that will no longer be the case after his fourth outing of the season, when Santana will have only four days to prepare for his fifth.
"Physically, I feel much better," Santana said after Tuesday's start. "I think my shoulder feels much better, and we'll see how it goes. The next couple weeks are going to be important."