Johan Santana will start Saturday, with no restrictions

Mets pitcher Johan Santana looks for a call

Mets pitcher Johan Santana looks for a call as he rehabs with the Brooklyn Cyclones at MCU Park. (Aug. 5, 2012) Photo Credit: Patrick E. McCarthy

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Johan Santana will start Saturday night against Atlanta after throwing in the bullpen Wednesday. Manager Terry Collins, who made the announcement, said Santana feels great and that he won't place any restrictions on him.

Santana has been on the disabled list since July 21 with a sprained right ankle.

"He's ready to go on Saturday, we've got a day off, and five days after that he'll pitch again. He feels great." Collins said. "He's feeling so much better about the way his arm feels, the way his leg feels, the energy he's gotten back."

Down the stretch, however, Collins said he believes it's important that the team consider using Santana more sparingly.

"If that means we've got to somehow give him an extra day now and then . . . we'll do it," he said. "I don't want to go into next spring training trying to find out if Johan Santana's going to be healthy again. We need to go into the offseason knowing he is."

Duda will get left turn

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Collins made it clear that Lucas Duda, who was sent to Triple-A July 24, is part of his plan for the Mets' outfield. When asked about which outfielders would play in light of Jason Bay's new role as a platoon player, Collins said he would ultimately like to see Duda in leftfield.

"There's a situation where he and Jason can split time out in leftfield if he starts swinging the bat like he's capable of," Collins said. "Because we certainly need that power bat back in the middle of the lineup."

Since being demoted, Duda has played 11 games for Buffalo, hitting .262 with two home runs.

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