PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. (AP) -Johan Santana is expected to make his first spring training start for the New York Mets on Friday against St. Louis. Before that, the team will get a good look at reliever Duaner Sanchez.
The right-hander is scheduled to pitch in an intrasquad game Monday, a big step in his recovery from shoulder surgery last spring. He hasn't appeared in a major league game since a July 2006 taxi accident.
Sanchez worked out at the Mets' complex all winter to get ready for spring training. Now, he gets his first chance to show management he's prepared to compete.
``I'm just curious in general,'' manager Willie Randolph said Sunday. ``You haven't seen the guy pitch in a year and a half. Throwing on the side is one thing, but he's looking good.''
Randolph has said Sanchez could be a key to success this season.
``The guy was one of the better setup guys in the game just a few years ago and you know obviously if he bounces back and gets anywhere close or even better than that, that's going to help us out tremendously in our bullpen,'' Randolph said.
Orlando Hernandez threw 45 pitches in a bullpen session Sunday after missing Saturday's workout following a root canal. El Duque had offseason surgery to repair a tendon in his right foot.
``I feel good. My mechanics (aren't) 100 percent yet,'' he said.
The Mets don't have a timetable for when Hernandez will pitch in a Grapefruit League game.
``He's fine,'' Randolph said. ``It's good to have him back after just one day. Guys like El Duque and those guys know what they have to do to get ready and I trust them.''
Notes: Jason Vargas will start Tuesday against the University of Michigan. Mike Pelfrey gets the nod Wednesday against Detroit and John Maine will start Thursday against St. Louis. ... OF Endy Chavez (ankle, hamstring) said he isn't sure when he'll play in a Grapefruit League game. 2B Luis Castillo, OF Carlos Beltran, INF-OF Damion Easley and OF Ben Johnson also will miss Monday's scrimmage and are considered day-to-day. SS Jose Reyes spent several minutes talking with outfield prospect Fernando Martinez before practice. ``He's a good friend of mine,'' Reyes said. ``If I have something to say to him, I'm going to say it because he's the future of the organization. I have to teach him to do it the right way.''
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