"He's not going to open with us," Collins said. "He's going to have to get himself ready and that's going to certainly determine on a daily basis where he's at, but we'll be gone. I'll have to monitor him by the phone."
The Mets soon will officially put the two-time Cy Young winner on the DL. They open the season at home on April 1 against San Diego.
Santana hasn't thrown a bullpen session since March 3. That outing was not part of the Mets' schedule and came after general manager Sandy Alderson expressed disappointment that Santana didn't report to camp ready to pitch.
"It's hard to say it was a setback," Collins said. "I just think he wanted to prove his arm was OK, that his arm was healthy. Instead of trying to make sure and not let all this other stuff bother him, he got angry about it."
"At that particular time, that was his way of making sure everybody knew his shoulder was fine, that he wasn't hurt. It's just that he wasn't ready to pitch," he said. "Now we need to get him ready to pitch. I told him, `I don't care about yesterday, I care about now. We've got to move forward here. What happened six weeks ago has absolutely no bearing on what we need to do moving forward."
Santana went 6-9 last season and was shut down in August because of inflammation in his lower back. He'll stay at the Mets' spring camp when the season begins.
"We don't have the conditions [in New York] to do what he needs to do, to be honest," Collins said. "You get a rainy day or you got a 40-degree day, and he's going to get nothing out of it."