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Santana pitches, return still possible

New York Mets' Johan Santana delivers a pitch

New York Mets' Johan Santana delivers a pitch against the Houston Astros during the first inning. (Aug. 17, 2010) Photo Credit: AP

WASHINGTON -- The Johan Santana Watch is back on after Saturday's rehab start for Class A St. Lucie, his first since returning to New York for an Aug. 8 checkup on his surgically repaired shoulder.

Santana pitched two innings against Palm Beach, allowing three hits, a run and striking out two. He threw 30 pitches, 21 for strikes.

There's still a chance Santana could make an abbreviated start for the Mets during the team's final homestand, Sept. 23-28 at Citi Field.

Santana is scheduled to make another rehab start Friday. That would bring Santana up to three innings and roughly 50 pitches with at least one more rehab start before getting the green light to pitch at Citi.

Even if that does happen, manager Terry Collins indicated it would only be for a few innings.

"I think it would ease a lot of minds -- ours and his -- that he's healthy instead of sitting all winter long and waiting to see what happens with his arm in spring training," Collins said.

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