Port St. Lucie, Florida – After completing a standard bullpen session this past Thursday, New York Mets pitcher Johan Santana removed his glove and tossed it dramatically to the ground, startling first baseman Ike Davis and catcher Josh Thole.
“Why are we even doing this, guys?” said Santana, as he walked back into the clubhouse. “I mean, seriously? Jose (Reyes) is gone, everyone’s hurt and opening day is a week away, and we’re supposed to field this squad against the Phillies? I just don’t want to do it anymore…”
Santana is citing a rather uneventful spring training for the formerly ‘Amazin’ Mets. Faced with the departure of star shortstop Jose Reyes, the Mets have had to make due in order to make up the difference. Since then, the Mets have suffered a rash of injuries, most notably to third baseman David Wright (muscle tear) and centerfielder Andres Torres (sprained ankle). The team has posted a record of 6-16-2 throughout exhibition play.
Dejected, Santana sat in the dugout and buried his face in his hat. Manager Terry Collins came over to have a talk with his opening day starter.
“Hey, buddy. You okay? Huh? It’s going to be alright, you know – it really will.”
Collins, usually a fiery presence within the clubhouse, has had to play the role of emotional supporter several times through the month of March. Early in the season, closer Frank Francisco broke down on the pitcher’s mound after surrendering a three run-homer to Washington Nationals right fielder Jason Worth.
“It’s tough – I can’t deny that – especially for the guys that have been here for a few years, and remember when this team had a chance,” said Collins, distracted by a wild pitch by reliever Ramirez that hit the back stop, forcing backup catcher Mike Nickeas to run from the plate. “I gotta give these guys credit. They are out here for 162 games – it’s a long season. I just hope Johan can get his act together before next Friday.”
The second season manager was seen in the dugout again, this time addressing a group of players while putting one arm around Johan. “You guys will be okay. Tell you what, we win – and we’ll go get ice cream. Huh? What do you say?”
The Mets open their season next Friday in Queens against the Atlanta Braves.