Mets push back Johan Santana's first spring training start

By Mike Axisa | Baseball Writer
Arm strength is an issue for the Mets' left-hander. (USATSI)

Mets GM Sandy Alderson confirmed to reporters on Friday morning that left-hander Johan Santana's first spring training start has been pushed back to between March 10-15. There is no injury or structural damage, he just needs more time to build up arm strength.

Santana, 34 next month, had been scheduled to make his first start on March 2 before the team determined he needed more time. He will continue to long toss and throw off a mound. Alderson said an opening start is still possible but not a guarantee.

Santana missed the entire 2011 season because of shoulder surgery, but he returned last summer to go 6-9 with a 79 ERA+. His year ended in August due to ankle and back problems. The Mets prevented the two-time AL Cy Young Award winner from pitching for Team Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic, though it's unclear if he would have been ready in time anyway.

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