MLB notes: Mets' Johan Santana faces uncertain season
Johan Santana knows he won't be pitching when the New York Mets start their season April 1. He doesn't know when he'll take the mound again.
The 33-year-old left-hander, hampered by a sore shoulder, was scheduled to throw on flat ground from 90 feet Saturday, up from 60 feet a week ago. He'll need to get up to about 180 feet before the Mets allow his first bullpen session since Feb. 6.
"I'm making progress; I just don't know when I'm going to be pitching again," Santana said Saturday in Jupiter, Fla. "That's the thing: We cannot think ahead. The way we're approaching everything is every day make sure we have a good today, so tomorrow we'll come back and we'll do it again until we feel we can do this without any problems."
The two-time Cy Young Award winner will miss the entire exhibition season because of a lack of arm strength and will start the season on the disabled list.
"It's a slow process," Santana said. "One day at a time, make sure that every day I feel better and make progress. That's what I'm doing right now." Santana was examined by Dr. David Altchek earlier in spring training and was told his surgically repaired pitching shoulder is structurally sound.
Santana didn't pitch in the major leagues in 2011 following shoulder surgery. He went 6-9 with a 4.85 ERA in 21 starts last year and pitched the first no-hitter in Mets history June 1 against St. Louis.
Santana gets $25.5 million this year in the final guaranteed season of his $137.5 million, six-year contract.
Left-hander Jon Niese will start on Opening Day against San Diego, and right-hander Jeremy Hefner appears most likely to take Santana's spot in the rotation.
Around the horn
Yankees • New York has brought back a familiar face, signing pitcher Chien-Ming Wang to a minor league contract. Wang, who turns 33 later this month, was originally signed by the Yankees in 2000. He went 55-26 with them during five seasons, and was a 19-game winner in consecutive years. The right-hander from Taiwan went 2-6 with a 6.68 ERA in 10 games with Washington last year. He spent the last three seasons with the Nationals.
Cardinals • Closer Jason Motte probably will start the season on the disabled because of a mild muscle flexor strain in his pitching arm. Setup man Mitchell Boggs will move into the closer's role.
Nationals • Bryce Harper has been scratched from Washington's lineup Saturday against the Mets because of swelling in his left hand. Harper was jammed on a pitch by Drew Smyly of Detroit on Friday.