Brooklyn, NY – August 5th - Johan Santana threw three innings of one hit baseball without allowing a run. From the first inning it appeared as though Santana had control of his pitches as he struck out two batters, both looking at the changeup as he painted the corner.
During his post-game conference, Johan confirmed that he was in charge of his pitches. “I felt pretty good. I was able to throw some fastballs and some changeups and some sliders.” This was the first time that Santana had been on the mound since his last start on July 20th before being placed on the 15 day disabled list.
The Cyclones crowd was certainly into the game as they cheered for Johan after each pitch and he did recognize that. Fans had arrived at the stadium prior to 2:00 PM in hopes of getting an up-close glimpse of Johan and even a chance to get an autograph. “I walked in and everyone was very excited and very welcoming. That’s baseball you know. You sign some autographs and make some people happy and I was happy.” It was also a good experience for Johan to get a chance to see the talent that the Cyclones have and see some of the players that he was with last year in Florida as he was recovering from his shoulder surgery.
During his process towards recovery, Johan was able to build relationships with some of the players and to see them develop into what they are now is something special. “There are a few guys that they’ve done a pretty good job developing and strengthening our minor leagues.” Stefan Sabol showed his talents in left field as he was able to make a diving catch going towards the line for the first out of the third. Phillip Evans also showed his ability to handle the bat as he crushed a two-run home run in the third. Nelfi Zapata showed that he has what it takes be behind the plate as he and Johan were on the right page through the first three innings. The two had spoken before the game about what Johan wanted to do and Zapata listened and went out and called the right pitches in the right moments.
- Julian Rifkind