Scratch any hope of seeing Johan Santana at Citi Field this season.
Terry Collins made it official Wednesday when he announced Santana would not start as scheduled for Class A Savannah Friday and instead would pitch a simulated game Sunday in Fort Myers, Fla., where Santana has a home.
While a return to the Mets, even for an inning or two, already had seemed like a long shot, Collins made it sound like an ill-conceived fantasy.
"I think that pretty much has been out the window for a while, to be honest," Collins said. "For him to come here, even if it was only one outing, and put him on that mound, I think we were asking to have a bad experience afterward. To overdo it, overthrow . . . that's the one thing we couldn't have happen right now."
Santana pitched three innings last Friday for Savannah, and Collins insisted he was fine physically, reporting no problems after Wednesday's's long-toss session. But Santana did not want to "interrupt" things for Savannah, which is playing for the South Atlantic League title Friday.
"He's doesn't know how ready he's going to be," Collins said, "and he doesn't feel like that's his place."
Fort Myers is more convenient for Santana, who then could return to Port St. Lucie to pitch instructional league games. At this point, the focus is next February.
"We thought we'd have him back," Collins said, "but we were realistic enough to know this was a day-by-day situation. There was nothing in etched in stone."