Extra day of rest leaves Santana struggling

New York Mets' Johan Santana (57) wipes his

New York Mets' Johan Santana (57) wipes his face while pitching ti the Washington Nationals in the third inning. (April 11, 2010) Photo Credit: Photo by John Dunn

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Johan Santana's cryptic comments after the Mets' 5-2 loss suggested that the team might decide to keep him on regular rest for his next turn - and skip Oliver Perez - rather than risk a repeat of what happened Sunday.

Santana, with an extra day off, looked lost in the first inning as Washington scored four runs, the big blow coming on Josh Willingham's grand slam. Afterward, Santana said he had no command of his fastball, which hovered around 88 mph, and hinted that he might pitch on his regular turn next time out.

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"As of right now, we planned to go with five starters," he said. "We'll know in the next couple days what they will do. We'll see Tuesday what they have to say."

The Mets did not announce any changes to the rotation. Jerry Manuel completely shuffled the order after Santana with less than a week before Opening Day. This time the Mets might think he needs to stay on turn. "I didn't have it in the first inning," Santana said. "I was all over the place. For some reason, it was cutting and I wasn't able to command it the way I had to."

Meeting RaulRaul Valdes - who threw two scoreless innings in his major-league debut - was added to the roster before the game to give Manuel a third lefthander in the bullpen. Sean Green was placed on the 15-day DL with a right intercostal muscle strain. Valdes, 32, defected from Cuba in 2004 and was in the Cubs' and Mets' organizations before spending the last two years in South American and Mexican leagues.

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Extra basesLuis Castillo didn't start for the third straight game. He pinch hit for the second game and could be ready to start tomorrow.

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