Today: Jul 17, 2024

Sports Commentary: Welcome back No. 57

PAT LONGOBARDISports Writer

What a sight it was to see No. 57, Johan Santana, trotting to the mound for the New York Mets on opening day.

After a long 18-plus month stint on the disabled list, the ace is back.

With this being one of the few bright spots early on in the 2012 season, the Mets need Santana to help restore Citi Field as the home of a contender again.

The Mets’ pitching rotation this season has experience and some arms that can all play a role if things bounce the right way.

The rotation right now stands at Santana, R.A. Dickey, Mike Pelfrey, Jonathon Niese and Dillon Gee. The new and improved bullpen is also deep with the amount of young pitch­ing in the farm system.

Santana is one of the examples of leadership on the team that will give whatever he has at any cost for a win.

However, Santana’s resume in Flushing joins the long line of other Mets who have put on the uniform only to have setbacks when given a chance.

The Mets have taken it nice and easy and have tried to push the right buttons with Santana. Now it is Santana’s turn to show us what many might have forgotten about.

Meanwhile, the other pitchers that have picked up the slack include Roy Halladay, Jon Lester, C.C. Sabathia and even Justin Verlander,

What about the once-mighty Johan?

At least when he was on the mound, the Mets fans had some chance of hope, but now he is back and hopefully for good.

Pitching for the Mets is even more important this season as every team in the very strong NL East has stacked up their rotations.

The Mets will go into this season without three of the All-Stars from last year—Carlos Beltran, Jose Reyes and Francisco Rodriguez.

The only faces of the franchise now are Santana, David Wright and Jason Bay, while others are still earning their roles.

Santana’s spring was pretty successful and will help spread some joy and expectations early on. Can the Mets actu­ally contend this season with Santana leading the way?

There is also the factor that second-year manager Terry Collins has never really managed with Santana yet. After miss­ing all of 2011, Collins is probably anxious to see if Santana is the missing piece that this team needs.

After his long road back, at this point if Santana needs an extra day here and there, give it to him because his presence in the clubhouse is very strong.

Citi Field is supposed to be a pitcher’s park and San­tana really has not had a clear say to clarify that statement yet. Do not count out Santana, who showed in the opening game of 2012 that this is his turn to restore the Mets into a contender.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Latest from Blog