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Mets tab Johan to start second-half opener

Mets tab Johan to start second-half opener

Mets tab Johan to start second-half opener
NEW YORK -- Terry Collins has already started planning his post-All Star break rotation.

If Johan Santana's twisted right ankle sustained during Friday's start proves to be of no issue -- the left-hander said it shouldn't be a big deal during his postgame news conference -- Collins said he will be the scheduled starter for Friday's second-half opener against the Braves.

"He said he feels fine," Collins said.

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Santana sustained the injury in the fifth inning on Friday when he attempted to barehand Justin Turner's flip at first base. Reed Johnson, who had hit a soft infield grounder, then stepped on Santana's already twisted ankle as he ran through the base.

"It's a little tender today, which you would expect after being stepped on," Collins said. "He said he's fine and he's going to do stuff. He's going to throw long tomorrow, then do his side early next week, so he'll be fine."

Collins said that Santana will take a day or two off to rest the ankle, but he will throw a bullpen session either Tuesday or Wednesday to prepare for Friday's start.

R.A. Dickey, who will make his first career All-Star appearance on Tuesday, is expected to follow Santana and get the nod on Saturday against Atlanta. Jon Niese and Dillon Gee will start the next two games -- though not necessarily in that order -- and Chris Young will round out the rotation.

"It actually works out great for me, because it puts me on my normal routine, it's almost like a bullpen day anyway," Dickey said of his All-Star workload. "Being a knuckleballer, I have a little bit more latitude with the way that I can work in between outings."

Dickey was available out of the bullpen on Saturday against the Cubs. He is a strong candidate to start for the National League on Tuesday in Kansas City.

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