Santana threw well above his allotted pitch count in Friday's no-hitter against the Cardinals, and Collins wants to be careful with Santana as he returns from invasive shoulder surgery. He will pitch on Friday in the Interleague series opener against the Yankees, and rookie Jeremy Hefner will pitch in Santana's place on Wednesday in Washington.
"We knew we were really going to have to take a look at [Santana's] workload his next start, if we moved it," Collins said. "If it was going to be either Wednesday or Thursday, we were really going to have to limit his workload. If we moved him to Thursday and give him an extra day, all of a sudden now you mess with [R.A.] Dickey, and you push him back, and he's a guy who doesn't need to be pushed back. We talked about possibly bringing [Santana] back on regular rest, and I didn't like that scenario."
The plan as of Sunday was for Dickey to move up a day to provide Santana with one more day of rest, but that was contingent on both of their bullpen sessions going well on Monday. Santana was told not to throw his session on Monday because Collins had already made his decision to rest him. Dickey will pitch in his usual spot on Thursday against the Nationals.
"We talked about possibly bringing R.A. back early on short rest," Collins said. "I knew R.A. could do it, I knew he was willing to do it, I couldn't find anyone that liked it. But when you're 8-1 and pitching as well as he is, you really don't want to disrupt the whole schedule that he's on."
Dillon Gee will follow Santana on Saturday. Jonathan Niese will also get an extra couple days' rest, closing out the crosstown series with the Yanks on Sunday.
"I can't even tell you how many meetings we've had to get this thing worked out, especially with what Johan did the other day, to make sure we're doing the right thing by him also," Collins said.