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Johan Santana isn’t sure when he’ll be able to pitch

New York Mets Photo Day

PORT ST. LUCIE, FL - FEBRUARY 21: Johan Santana #57 of the New York Mets poses for a photograph during spring training media photo day at Tradition Field on February 21, 2013 in Port St. Lucie, Florida. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)

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It’s already a given that Johan Santana will begin the season on the disabled list, but his comments to reporters this morning indicate that the Mets will have to make due without him for quite a while.

Yikes. Santana has been trying to build strength in his surgically-repaired shoulder for most of camp, but he hasn’t thrown off a mound since March 6. And given that his shoulder still isn’t feeling great, the Mets aren’t about to push him. He’ll need a handful of weeks to get ready even after he starts to throw from a mound, so he isn’t anywhere close to pitching in a game, let alone in a major league setting. Jeremy Hefner is expected to take his place in the rotation at the start of the season and it sounds like he might get an extended opportunity.

Santana, 33, is owed $25 million this season while his $25 million club option for 2014 includes a $5.5 million buyout.