Santana, Pitching Coach at Odds

Johan Santana isn't coming to New York for tests on his elbow after a Sunday throwing session that everyone thought went well. There's also a snowstorm pounding the city, and the Mets medical staff is headed to Florida later this week, so there didn't seem to be much reason for Santana to get on a plane.

No one's getting ahead of themselves about whether or nor Santana will pitch Opening Day, although Jerry Manuel said there was a "good chance" of him getting the ball that day. Pitching coach Dan Warthen said that it was also possible Santana would just take the ball later in the first turn through the rotation. Before he starts worrying about that, though, Warthen may want to make sure he doesn't have a problem with his most important charge.

When asked what caused his elbow pain, Santana said he thought he threw too often that early in camp, but didn't explicitly blame Warthen for that schedule. The coach clearly thought he might be in trouble for screwing with the well-being of the Mets ace, so he made sure reporters got word about who was really to blame. Warthen accused the pitcher of focusing on pitching in the World Baseball Classic and overexerting himself.

"That's my speculation, that he had his own quiet agenda, not sharing it with anybody else," said Warthen. "He tried to throw too hard too soon."

Santana's agenda was hardly quiet. Everyone knew that he wanted to pitch in the WBC and everyone knew that offseason knee surgery made that a touchy subject. Warthen, on the other hand, wasn't so open about his agenda.

Warthen seems to be more focused on keeping his own job than making sure that his team's ace was okay. If Warthen thought he was throwing too hard too soon, then the time to do something about it was when Santana was throwing, not after he got hurt. It certainly doesn't do any good to publicly air that laundry, unless you want everyone to be sure that it wasn't Dan Warthen that screwed up the Mets best pitcher.  

Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City and is a contributor to and in addition to his duties for

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