PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — New York Mets ace Johan Santana threw off a mound for the first time since elbow surgery last Sept. 1 and said he felt good.
The two-time Cy Young Award winner threw 24 pitches over six minutes Tuesday morning on the second day of the team's voluntary mini-camp. It was his first time off a mound since Aug. 20.
"I feel pretty good," Santana said. "The ball was coming out pretty good. I feel like I am doing my mechanics without any problems, so that was big. And I don't feel anything in my arm, so I think everything should be all right."
Santana's excitement showed when he reacted to a changeup that showed the typical action hitters hate.
"It had that nice motion, so it's good to see that this early because that tells me we are way ahead of the game," Santana said.
Santana was 13-9 with a 3.13 ERA in 25 starts last year, including 6-7 with a 4.02 from June 1 on as the bone chips in his left elbow started to bother him more.
"I wasn't able to finish up the pitches," he said. "I wasn't able to put my leg the way it's supposed to and I wasn't able to reach out. Now that's what I was trying to do. Today, I was actually able to see my leg when I finished the pitch and that's big. To see that this early is a good sign."
Santana recognizes it will take time to regain consistency. He expects to be in the regular rotation by the second week of spring training games and to get five spring training starts. He expects to reach 90 pitches before breaking camp.
"He looked good," general manager Omar Minaya said. "He's loose and excited, and we are excited about that."