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Johan wants to pitch for Mets this year

Mets pitcher Johan Santana in the Mets clubhouse

Mets pitcher Johan Santana in the Mets clubhouse at Digital Domain Stadium in Port St. Lucie, Florida. (Feb. 17, 2011) Photo Credit: Newsday/Alejandra Villa

MIAMI -- Johan Santana will make a start for the Mets this season. Or not.

Neither Santana nor team officials committed to anything when asked about the possibility before Monday night's game at Sun Life Stadium.

So here's how it stands. Santana is scheduled to throw a bullpen session Tuesday, just as he did here with the Mets in late July, and then will make a start Friday for either St. Lucie or Savannah -- whichever Class A affiliate is still alive in the playoffs.

Beyond that, it gets trickier. The Mets want Santana to keep pitching in games, but the minor-league seasons will be over when his turn comes up again. That leaves giving him an abbreviated start for the Mets at some point during the final two weeks of the season or settling for the instructional league or winter league.

"If you throw him out there in Citi Field, with that adrenaline, it's a totally different animal than the instructional league," assistant GM John Ricco said. "You want to make sure he's ready for it."

Santana didn't sound too worried about that Monday. He reported no problems after Saturday's two-inning rehab start for St. Lucie and said the key is taking the next day off rather than long-tossing, as he once did.

"I feel way better," Santana said.

That optimism also has him eyeing a few innings at Citi Field despite the Mets' extremely cautious approach. Santana pointed out that his surgery was Sept. 14, and in accordance with Dr. David Altchek's original timetable, that would make it exactly a year if he were to pitch for the Mets after Friday's minor-league start.

"If we do that, then we went through the whole process as it was planned in the beginning," Santana said. "I definitely would like to be at the major-league level. It's all about how I feel more than anything. Once my shoulder's fine, then I can pitch anywhere."

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