Mets put off Santana's spring debut

The SportsXchange

The New York Mets have delayed the first spring appearance for New York Mets left-hander Johan Santana to give him more time to prepare.

General manager Sandy Alderson said the decision to push back Santana's spring debut from March 2 to mid-March is not injury related.

"There's no structural issue," Alderson said, according to ESPN.com. "It's a matter of just getting into a development progression. It's not a soreness thing. I wouldn't even call it a weakness.

"It's just where he is in his program is somewhat behind based on his winter and the injury from last year and his loss of the second half of the season. So he's just a little behind schedule."

Santana's 2012 season ended on the disabled list because of inflammation in his lower back. He sat out the 2011 season after shoulder surgery.

After Santana met with team doctor David Altchek on Thursday, the decision was made to scale back Santana's spring work, according to ESPN.

Santana, 33, is slated to start the Mets' opener, but Alderson acklowledged that Santana could be placed on the disabled list to begin the season.

The 33-year-old Santana is entering the final season of a six-year contract worth $25.5 million in 2013.
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