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Johan Santana is gearing up for the season

Feb 11, 2010, 8:58 AM EDT

If there is anything that makes me doubt Kyle Farnsworth’s chances as a starter it’s the article in today’s Daily News about Johan Santana. In it John Harper catches for the Mets’ ace as he pitches a simulated half-inning against the heart of the Phillies’ lineup.  After striking out the cardboard cutout that simulates Jimmy Rollins, he walks the silhouette of Chase Utley, bringing Ryan Howard to the plate:

Santana throws a fastball on the outside corner, a changeup down,
and then, as promised, bounces a slider just off the outside corner
that caroms off my arm, 15 feet away to my left. I scramble to retrieve the ball, happy that I got a piece of it, not
realizing until I turn to throw that Santana is staring me down.

“Utley’s at second,” he says. “What’d you think, I was going to throw (Howard) a cookie there? Now I’m in a tough spot.”

I know he’s kidding. Isn’t he? No smile this time. Santana is in
work mode. He takes these simulated games seriously because he takes a
thinking man’s approach with each hitter, watching the swings they
take, trying to decide when they might be sitting on his changeup.

“You have to outsmart hitters,” he says. “You have to have a game plan.”

It’s that outsmarting/game plan stuff that I can’t help but feel Farnsworth won’t quite be able to handle.

But back to Santana. I may have a healthy case of Mets derangement syndrome — hey, did you hear that the bonds used to finance Citi Field are now classified as “junk?” Really! — but I have a serious man-crush on Johan Santana and would love nothing more than to see him come back and have a dominant season. As of now he’s throwing freely and easily at about 88 m.p.h., working his way slowly up to full velocity.

The only thing I don’t like about what I read in the article is that he didn’t bounce one in the dirt to cup-check Harper, but I’ll take what I can get at this point.

  1. Jonny5 - Feb 11, 2010 at 9:13 AM

    Santana is one of the best in the game. He’s the one that can pull a win against any team he faces, even with one of the weakest hitting staffs in the country. Whoops, that was hypothetical, I didn’t mean the Mets stink or anything… Damn, there it again… I’ll just shut up now….

  2. BC - Feb 11, 2010 at 9:52 AM

    Junk bonds to finance a junk stadium for a junk team run by a junk GM and a junk Owner. It all makes sense now….

  3. Old Gator - Feb 11, 2010 at 10:02 AM

    That vignette about catching Santana reminds me a lot of that scene in The Boys of Summer wherein Roger Kahn is standing in the batter’s box so one of the Dodgers’ pitchers can find his range – can’t recall which pitcher it was, due to jet lag and the progressive buildup of calcium and cholesterol deposits on my dendrites. Anyway, that bit about the ball whizzing by his head with a noise like a snake – I always loved that, and think about it often, especially when throwing a mouse to Friendo, my pet baby pygmy rattlesnake,
    By the way, it occurs to me – are pitchers trying to send some kind of message to sportswriters when they ask them to perform one of the baseball tasks these writers are so eager to critique in print, inevitably demonstrating that the scribes can’t execute even the simplest of them without looking like total putzes? Or have the ballplayers long since figured out that trying to send a message to a sportswriter is a lot like Nicholas Cage arguing with a fireplug at the end of The Vampire’s Kiss? In that case, is it possible that these ballplayers simply enjoy watching sportswriters make complete cloacas out of themselves as a little payback for all the anancephalic comments they’ve made in print about said ballplayers?
    Justwunnerin’. Anyway, it’s daybreak in an Albuquerque poised on the cusp of winter, so I gotta get up to Mannie’s for a cup of liquid pacemaker and a platter of huevos rancheros con chorizo. Then I have to discuss something in which Craig is certain I have no interest. Maybe I’ll just take a page of Johan Santana and ask him to proofread my essay first.

  4. Jamie - Feb 11, 2010 at 10:32 AM

    Craig, you’re doing this wrong. Johna Santana relies on his natural ability and childlike enthusiasm, but is overly emotional and prone to mental mistakes. Kyle Farnsworth takes a more analytical approach and makes up for his lack of natural athleticism with hard work and determination. You only need to look at their pictures to see this. It’s Sports Journalism 101.

  5. Old Gator - Feb 11, 2010 at 11:08 AM

    I bet you do have a “man crush.”

  6. moreflagsmorefun - Feb 11, 2010 at 11:41 AM

    why you talkin so much junk……….

  7. Matt - Feb 11, 2010 at 12:04 PM

    Questech said ball four to Utley hit the corner.

  8. Old Gator - Feb 11, 2010 at 12:37 PM

    The regulars for the most part would have figured this out anyway, but for the benefit of the neophytes and the more dimwitted regulars on here, post # 5 was authored by an imposter (love that pun, eh?) without the rudimentary imagination to come up with a name for himself.

  9. Old Gator - Feb 12, 2010 at 10:18 AM

    P.S. I am a robot.

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