JUPITER, Fla. -- Mets general manager Sandy Alderson refused to forecast Johan Santana's chances of beginning the season on the disabled list. But Alderson expressed his satisfaction Sunday with the pace of Santana's progress as he continues work to strengthen his left shoulder.
"His condition will dictate his schedule," said Alderson, who seemed to irk the pitcher little more than a week ago when he questioned his offseason routine. "At this point, I'm not going to concern myself with any sort of emotional response. It's all about, 'Let's get him ready.' "
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Santana has not addressed his status publicly since surprising the team with an unplanned bullpen session March 3. Until then, he had been kept from throwing off a mound because of signs of shoulder fatigue.
The Mets have since allowed Santana to dictate his rehab schedule.
Though he didn't dismiss the possibility, manager Terry Collins said the Mets are "certainly not planning" on starting the year with Santana on the shelf.
On the outfield
Alderson said he's seen mixed results from the pool of outfielders but cautioned against early judgments. "We've seen some encouraging play," he said. "We've seen some less than encouraging [play]. It's a body of work that has to be judged, and not on a day-to-day basis."
Frank Francisco (right elbow inflammation) remains a candidate to begin the season on the disabled list. However, the righthanded reliever made progress Sunday when he threw off a mound for the first time since the start of spring training. Collins said he received positive reports about the throwing session.
Righty Shaun Marcum still hopes to smooth over his mechanics before the spring is out. He looked impressive in a 3-0 victory over the Cardinals on Sunday, allowing just one hit in 3 2/3 innings . . . Working for a second straight day, relievers Scott Atchison and Jeurys Familia each had scoreless innings. Lefty reliever Scott Rice tossed a perfect frame and lefty Pedro Feliciano faced two batters, retiring one and walking the other . . . Jordany Valdespin continued to push for a roster spot. After entering in the fifth inning in rightfield, the utilityman singled home a run in the eighth, raising his Grapefruit League average to .360. "I'm ready for anything," said Valdespin, who has also seen action at second base.