Busy Mets looking to give Santana a breather

Busy Mets looking to give Santana a breather

NEW YORK -- Earlier in the season, Mets manager Terry Collins found an extra day between Johan Santana's starts to give his oft-injured left-hander some extra rest. As of late, New York's schedule hasn't afforded Collins that luxury.

The Mets finish a stretch of 20 games without an off-day on Wednesday, and before Santana's start on Saturday, Collins said he'd like to get his star pitcher some rest in the foreseeable future.

"We are looking to get him extra days down the road," Collins said. "I talk to him every day about how he's feeling. He has managed this well. This is why he's made the statements, 'Hey when June gets here, it's going to be different.' This is the one phase, or part of the season, where he was going to say, 'I want to see how I'm going to come out of this myself with the four days' rest.'"

Collins has strictly watched Santana's pitch count in his last three starts, pulling his starter as he nears 100 pitches. Santana has also done his part to assure he's ready for his next start, cutting down on activity between starts so he's well rested. Collins is being overly careful with Santana, as the two-time Cy Young Award winner missed all of last season while he was recovering from shoulder surgery.

Santana is 2-2 with a 2.75 ERA in 10 starts this season after throwing a four-hit shutout Saturday. He hadn't received a decision in his prior three starts, dating back to the beginning of the Mets' 20-game streak on May 11.