New York Mets General Manager Sandy Alderson and manager Terry Collins said yesterday that the team's top pitcher, Johan Santana, suffered a setback on June 3 when he felt pain while throwing off the mound. Santana is recovering from shoulder surgery he underwent on Sept. 14.

Santana had begun throwing harder from the mound when he felt soreness. He will return to long tossing on flat ground for a few days before ramping up his throwing again.

The setback suggests that Santana won't return to the team until at least August.

To be honest, he'll decide, said Collins. Ultimately, when he feels right, he'll pitch. We can only hope that it comes, and he comes in July maybe, or August or September. But we hope he comes back. And if not, if he's ready next spring, and we're going into spring training with a pretty good pitcher on our team.

Third baseman David Wright will be examined by doctors again on June 24. The Mets were previously optimistic about Wright returning after the All-Star break. This will technically true, but the chances of him returning the first game after the All-Star break on July 15 are not high.

Ike Davis, the Mets first baseman who rolled his left ankle in a mild collision with Wright on a play on May 10, will see doctors on June 22. He has been wearing a boot and will continue to stay off his foot until the examination.

Dale Murphy (.305) has been covering first base in Davis' absence. Justin Turner (.284) has been holding down third base for Wright. This arrangement has put Ruben Tejada, who is expected to inherit the shortstop position from Jose Reyes, at second base.

Dillon Gee and Chris Capuano have filled the gaps in the starting rotation for the Mets. Gee has been excellent, sporting a 7-0 record and a 1.10 WHIP. Capuano has been inconsistent (5-6) but has won his last two games, allowing just one earned run. Pelfrey, the team's de facto ace, is 3-5 with a 5.11 ERA. Knuckleballer R.A. Dickey has been a mystery, dropping three games in a row before shutting down the Yankees on May 20, and losing to Pittsburgh 5-1 on May 31 while striking out 10 batters.

All in all, Alderson is pleased. The nice thing is, as we speak today, our starting rotation is doing nicely, Alderson said. In that sense the pressure to get [Santana] back earlier doesn't exist. Tomorrow, that could change completely. But, I think the other thing is, we're looking at Johan long term here, not short term. So he's got to be right.

The Mets are on the hook to pay Santana $24 million next season and $25.5 million in 2013, with an option for 2014.