I caught the Cardinals-Mets game on SNY on Tuesday. It carried unusual significance as it was Johan Santana’s first outing since 2010. He has been recovering from shoulder surgery since. Santana tossed two scoreless innings, throwing mostly fastballs in the 87-88 MPH range. 17 strikes, 12 balls. SNY commentator Ron Darling was very enthusiastic, noting Santana’s free and easy movement. Catcher Josh Thole, put on camera later in the game, singled out Santana’s off-speed command. It is early, but the velo is going to need to improve.
In case anyone thinks that huge new contract will turn Yadier Molina soft, it doesn’t seem to be the case. Molina easily erased speedy Mets second baseman Jordany Valdespin trying to steal. What made it notable was that Molina made the throw from behind the plate to second base from his knees!
An interesting back-of-the-rotation guy, Jake Westbrook, looks noticeably thinner this spring. Like Santana, he threw two shutout innings. He is hardly the first to use this to explain past problems, but Westbrook has altered his delivery to avoid what he believes was tipping of his pitches.
Veteran reliever Scott Linebrink was brought in with the bases loaded and gave up a bases-clearing triple to right center. The ball, which would have gone out had the wind not been blowing in, was crushed by new Mets centerfielder and leadoff man Andres Torres. Obviously, Torres’ strength is not strength, but it was a good swing and result.
Mets first baseman Ike Davis made a couple of nice stretching defensive plays at first base, which is encouraging given his past foot problems. However, one throw from third baseman Justin Turner was so far down the line it put Davis in harm’s way. Fortunately, no collision ensued.
Another younger first baseman, Matt Adams of the Cardinals, launched a no-doubter grand slam that arched over the left-center wall. Jeurys Familia was the victim. Adams, the 2011 Texas League Player of the Year, hit 32 home runs last season and will compete to take over for Lance Berkman next year.
Mets reliever Pedro Beato got the win, but may have absorbed a more costly personal loss as well. The right-hander had to leave the game with what appeared to be a shoulder injury.
Brian Walton was the 2009 National League Tout Wars champion, scoring the most points in the league’s 14-year history. Though he is the only one to remember or care, he also finished second in each of the two subsequent seasons. His work can also be found daily at TheCardinalNation.com and thecardinalnationblog.com and in-season at FOXSportsMidwest.com. Follow Brian on Twitter.