Johan Santana threw off a mound Friday for the first time after a 4½-month break as he tries to make it back to the major leagues for the New York Mets’ opener in April.
The two-time Cy Young Award winner threw 25 pitches to Josh Thole on Friday, Santana’s first mound session since pitching four innings in an Instructional League game on Sept. 30. Santana had surgery to repair a torn anterior capsule in his left shoulder on Sept. 14, 2010, and has not pitched in a major league game since.
“I feel really good,” he said. “This is something we always do. The approach that we had from the beginning was to do everything like I always do to get ready for the season and that’s, for me, about the time to get on the mound and start throwing. “I was able to throw my pitches and it felt good after that.”
Mets manager Terry Collins, who stood a few steps from Thole during the session, said Santana will work out with the team the way any healthy player would. Pitchers and catchers start drills Wednesday.
“You saw the smile on his face. You don’t think he’s happy with what’s going on? He is,” Collins said. “It’s a huge step for us.”
Santana said he felt like his arm and motion were approaching where they were in 2010.
“When I was hurt, I wasn’t able to finish and my mechanics were totally different,” he said. “Now, I’m getting back to what I used to be and that’s what I’m looking for.”
ATHLETICS: They still have strong interest in signing slugger Manny Ramirez, who presents a low-risk investment for the rebuilding franchise.
If things come together, Ramirez, 39, is expected to sign. He first must serve a 50-game suspension for violating baseball’s drug policy before he could play.
ROYALS: Agreed to a contract with left-hander Tim Collins for this season.