The early indications out of New York Mets camp were that ace Johan Santana was on his way to returning to full strength.
The lefty, who was shut down last August after struggling to recover from shoulder surgery, threw off a mound for the first time since August on Feb. 17, but was told to back off his throwing routine soon after.
That decision was made over concern about his physical shape upon reporting to camp rather than issues with his arm, according to CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman.
General manager Sandy Alderson told Heyman, "(The) arm seems to be fine, (he) just was not in pitching shape when he arrived." Santana's opening-day start is "in jeopardy," according to Heyman.
The Mets were surprised Santana wasn't in pitch shape, and couldn't quite understand why Santana thought he could pitch for Venezuela in the WBC when they determined he wasn't ready to throw for them.
Pretty early in camp the Mets indicated to him they weren't going to approve his request to pitch in the WBC, as is their right for players who ended the 2012 season on the disabled list, leading to his withdrawal from the event.
Santana is now doing long tossing and is slated to throw live batting practice Tuesday, which will the first real pitching session since he was shut down a couple weeks ago.
"He tried to rest physically and mentally (this winter) and use spring training to get in shape,'' Santana's agent Peter Greenberg said by phone. "The goal was to be ready Opening Day or as close as possible. Mentally, as much as physically, he was burned out. He decided he needed a full break.''