Syracuse Mets Showcase Former MLB All-Star Pitcher Ervin Santana

Ervin Santana, Syracuse Mets Comeback Try (Photo:

Two years removed from the MLB All-Star game, Ervin Santana pitched five innings Sunday for the Triple-A Syracuse Mets in a comeback bid…

Ervin Santana, in a game that opened with a two-hour rain delay, pitched five serviceable innings in his first start Sunday for the Syracuse Mets, surrendering three runs on three hits with five punchouts. Showing signs of rustiness, Santana also walked five.

Buoyed by home runs from Gregor Blanco and Dilson Herrera, the Syracuse Mets (34-35) held off the Gwinnett Stripers (37-31) by a score of 7-6 at NBT Stadium. The game was attended by 3.462 fans (including myself) who dodged the rainfall throughout the contest.

Tim Tebow, who was the subject of a widely read column I wrote yesterday, started for the Mets in left field. In three appearances at the plate, Tebow was hitless, continuing his year-long slide while leaving three men on base and reducing his batting average to .149. (Video taken of his 1st at-bat follows)

Much like their parent club at Citi Field, the Syracuse Mets are struggling to reach the .500 mark. They trail the Yankees farm team, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Railriders, by six games in the International League’s North Division.

Brandon Nimmo, on a rehab assignment to the Syracuse Mets, did not play and is reported to be back in New York for “further evaluation”.

Syndergaard Goes Down – Santana Goes Up?

It was one of those “hope we catch lightning in a bottle” moves that led New York Mets General Manager, Brodie Van Wagenen, to sign both Santana and outfielder Matt Kemp to minor league contracts on May 24.

When learning of Santana’s signed, Mets Manager Mickey Callaway was cautiously optimistic:

“It’s just another depth piece for us and one that has some upside to it because when he gets rolling, he can be a pretty good pitcher,” Callaway said. “I’ve been around him a lot, and he can pitch. When he has that slider going, it’s pretty tough.”Associated Press (AP)

Pitching on Father’s Day, Santana made pitches when he had to, but appeared to be struggling with his command of the pitch Callaway referred to. His slider was good, as witnessed by the five strikeouts, but inconsistent overall. Santana topped out in the 91-92 MPH with his fastball.

Santana has played in parts of 15 seasons in the major leagues with five different teams. He owns a 149-127 career record in 387 games (384 starts) with a 4.09 ERA with 754 walks and 1,926 strikeouts. He was twice named an All-Star with the Angels in 2008 and again with the Twins in 2017. (

At 36, prior to the game, Syracuse Mets manager Tony DeFrancesco said Santana is on a 100-pitch limit until he builds up arm strength.

In any other scenario, it would be unlikely Ervin Santana gets a call-up no matter how well he does with the Syracuse Mets. The parent team needs help in their bullpen and Santana, who has only one relief appearance in his 108 major league games, is not likely to help in that area.

Anthony Kay, New York Mets Top Pitching Talent (Photo: New York Post)
Anthony Kay, New York Mets Top Pitching Talent (Photo: New York Post)

Perhaps as an omen accompanying the Mets ongoing health and on-the-field playing issues, the team announced that Noah Syndergaard has been placed on the 10-day IL with a hamstring injury. An MRI is scheduled for today to determine the severity of the strain, but whatever happens, Syndergaard will miss at least one, if not two, starts.

The Mets could also turn to their young phenom, Anthony Kay, who was just promoted to the Syracuse Mets from Double-A Binghamton (7-3, 1.38 ERA). In many quarters, including here, this would be seen as an act of desperation by the Mets if they push the 24-year old lefty too far and much too soon.

Syracuse Mets – On Guard And Standing By As Always

Meanwhile, Syracuse Mets manager, Tony Francesca sits by waiting for orders from the top as to when the New York Mets want him to pitch Santana and Kay again. Syndergaard (5-4) took the loss in a start against St. Louis on Saturday, meaning his turn comes again on Thursday when the Mets will be in Chicago to face the Cubs.

Such is the lot of a Triple-A team like the Syracuse Mets in serving the needs of the parent club. More significantly though, such is the lot of the New York Mets who keep shooting themselves in the foot as they enter a stretch of eleven games against three of the four best teams in the National League.

Where’s that lightning in a bottle?

Enjoyed the game with by Brother-In-Law Joe Cerami and his two Grandsons, Travis and Collin. Great day, despite the rain…

Photo: Steve Contursi, Reflections On Baseball
Photo: Steve Contursi, Reflections On Baseball

Written by Steve Contursi, Editor, Reflections On Baseball
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Author: stevecontursi

I am an amateur writer with a passion for baseball and all things Yankees and Mets.

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