Where do things stand with the Opening Day pitching staff?

Matthew Cerrone, Lead Writer

It’s feeling inevitable that Johan Santana will start the season on the disabled list, as he continues to get himself in to ‘pitching shape,’ while strengthening his left shoulder. If that happens, Sandy Alderson has said to expect Santana’s first regular season start to be mid-April.

Johan Santana 1 polaroidSo, the rotation will likely go Jon Niese on Opening Day, followed by Shaun Marcum, Matt Harvey and Dillon Gee. Then Niese again, Jeremy Hefner, back to Marcum, Harvey, Gee and Niese, after which they can start Santana or repeat the initial cycle and have Santana start the following week in Colorado (around April 16).

Meanwhile, in the bullpen, things seem more set. Bobby Parnell, Brandon Lyon, Scott Atchison, Josh Edgin and Greg Burke seem like locks to make the roster. Frank Francisco is near-certain to begin the year on the DL, so Robert Carson, Jeurys Familia, Pedro Feliciano, LaTroy Hawkins, Aaron Laffey and Scott Rice are likely competing for one or two remaining spots.

I see Feliciano, Laffey and Rice as the front runners, but it will all depend on other roster needs, how many left-handed pitchers they intend to carry, and what happens with Hefner and the rotation with Santana.