About Last Night: Santana felt good, wanted to pitch more

Johan Santana tossed 84 pitches against 19 hitters and let up no runs and two hits during five innings against the Braves yesterday in first big-league start since September, 2010.

[jbox color="gray"]“I’m happy. Finally I had an opportunity to go out there in a game that counts and get it out the way. It was very important and it was good. … We went through tough times, good days, bad days, but we learned a lot and all we wanted to do is come back and help this team somehow. Everything is paying off. All the hard work we did together, the trainers, the coaches, doctors, everybody from Port St. Lucie to here, it was huge. I’m very happy, but we’re still working and I’m not done yet.[/jbox]

Terry Collins told reporters that Santana asked to keep pitching beyond the fifth inning, but at 84 pitches Collins decided to pull his ace from the game.

Santana said this is true, adding, “I felt I could out there for one more, but that wasn’t the case, and I think it was a great decision, we won the game, that’s most important.”

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Michael Baron: Santana really didn’t differ all that much from his most recent Spring Training outings. His velocity was mostly in the upper 80s and, at least early on, he had great command of both his slider and change-up. What I was most impressed with was Johan’s tempo – he controlled the pace of the game and stayed efficient for most of his outing. He appeared to tail off in the fifth inning as he lost command of his off-speed pitches, which speaks to the stamina he needs to continue to build. But, thanks in part to improved catching mechanics by Josh Thole, he was able to will himself through that inning and truly give the team a chance to win.