Santana’s $137 Million Arm Gets Extra Rest After Mets’ No-Hitter

Johan Santana and his $137 million left arm will get an extra day of rest after throwing a career-high 134 pitches in recording the first no-hitter in the New York Mets’ 51-year history.

Santana, 33, missed the 2011 Major League Baseball season following surgery on his pitching shoulder. He’ll be pushed back one day and is expected to start the Mets’ June 7 series finale against the Washington Nationals, manager Terry Collins said before yesterday’s 6-1 win over the St. Louis Cardinals.

Dillon Gee was moved up one day to start today’s game against the Cardinals, while Chris Young will come off the disabled list to make his season debut tomorrow against the Nationals and knuckleball pitcher R.A. Dickey will probably move up one day to face Washington on June 6.

The Mets had been one of two major-league teams without a no-hitter until Santana’s eight-strikeout, five-walk performance in an 8-0 win over the Cardinals on June 1 ended the franchise’s wait after 8,019 games. The San Diego Padres are now the only major-league club without a no-hitter.

Collins said afterwards that he’d questioned his decision to allow Santana to throw so many pitches against the Cardinals and wouldn’t rush the two-time Cy Young Award winner back.

“I went against just about everything I stand for, and that’s taking a chance to hurt your whole ballclub for the next four months for an instant decision of glory,” Collins told reporters. “Is it worth it?”

Two Straight Shutouts

Santana was traded to the Mets from the Minnesota Twins during the 2007-08 offseason and signed a six-year, $137.5 million contract in February 2008. When he pitched on opening day this season, it was his first major league appearance since Sept. 2, 2010. Santana has now thrown consecutive shutouts, including a 9-0 victory on May 26 against the San Diego Padres.

Santana’s pitch count will be limited in his next start, Collins said, without being specific.

The Mets have allowed only one run in their past three games, as Dickey tossed a seven-hit shutout against the Cardinals on June 2 and Jon Niese combined with four relievers to limit St. Louis to one run in last night’s win.

Niese left the game after six shutout innings because of an elevated heart rate and will be evaluated today, Collins said.

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