It didn't take long for the Mets to get their first dose of bad news. Johan Santana will miss Friday's scheduled start against the Italian team from the World Baseball Classic because of tenderness in his left elbow. Obviously anticipating the panic being felt by every Mets fan, manager Jerry Manuel tried to cushion the blow.
"Historically he’s had this little tenderness in his elbow and we’ve just been extra cautious," Manuel said. "If this was during the regular season, he could pitch. This is early March or February, we’re going to shut him down."
For the Mets' sake, let's hope Manuel's right and Santana just needs a little extra time to get the wing ready for action. Santana had knee surgery this offseason, and if that changed his motion, even slightly, it could negatively impact the elbow. Such problems can linger and get worse and, well, let's just hope for the best.
The silver lining? If Santana is out for any meaningful amount of time, the Mets won't have to worry about choking in September.