Mets opening day starter Johan Santana simulates a throw during a spring training workout.
Mets opening day starter Johan Santana simulates a throw during a spring training workout. REUTERS

In an offseason that hasn't featured much for Mets fans to get excited about, they got some great news yesterday - Johan Santana will be their opening day starter.

Santana broke the news himself, sort of. On Saturday he threw a long bullpen session, then walked by Mets manager Terry Collins and said, You've got your pitcher for Thursday.

After a meeting with GM Sandy Alderson, Collins and the rest of the Mets starting pitchers on Sunday the Mets made it official.

Santana hasn't pitched since September 2, 2010 when he came out of a game against Atlanta with what was initially diagnosed as a strained pectoral muscle, but what was in reality a torn anterior capsule in his throwing shoulder.

The two-time Cy Young award winner missed the entire 2011 season recovering from shoulder surgery he had in the wake of that injury, but he is apparently far enough along in his recovery to take the ball for the Mets on opening day.

However, he will be on a strict pitch count of 95 as the Mets try to bring him along slowly and get him ready to pitch a full season.

The 33-year-old lefty will face Atlanta Braves right-hander Tommy Hanson on Thursday at Citi Field at 1 p.m. when the Mets open their 2011-12 campaign.

Knuckleballer R.A. Dickey, Jon Niese, Mike Pelfry and Dillon Gee will round out the Mets rotation, in that order.

Despite getting injured in all three of his seasons with the Mets, Santana has put together an impressive 40-25 record with a 2.85 ERA and 1.17 WHIP in his 600 innings of work. He has never won the Cy Young as a member of the Mets but he did finish third in the voting in 2008.

His presence has not been a boon to the Mets fortunes however. They have yet to make the playoffs since trading for Santana from Minnesota, and only finished over .500 in his first season.

With the question marks elsewhere in the Mets rotation, as well as in their lineup it looks like this will be another tough slog of a season in New York, but the return of Santana could definitely help the Mets get back on the right track.