Johan Santana threw the first no-hitter in New York Mets history last season, but he struggled mightily after that and finished the season 6-9 with a 4.85 ERA. Santana was bouncing back from shoulder surgery and finished the season on the disabled list with a back injury. Apart from his health, Santana may have had other issues that led to his struggles.
During an interview with SNY Thursday, catcher John Buck, who was acquired in a December trade with the Toronto Blue Jays, mentioned that he thinks Santana has been tipping pitches.
Buck brought up Santana after being asked how his experience as a former Mets opponent can help his new team.
“Being on the other side -– whether it’s Johan tipping his pitches or whatever -– those little tiny things will help. I was just on the other side hitting off of him. I can maybe tighten some of those things up,” Buck said, via Mets Blog.
Buck was asked if he was throwing out a hypothetical issue, or something real.
“I might have seen something. Consider it cleared up,” he said.
Buck’s comments could provide some optimism for Mets fans who are hoping to see Santana rebound to ace form, however, I’m not sure they should get too excited.
As Rotoworld points out, even if Buck’s former team the Miami Marlins knew Santana was tipping pitches, it sure didn’t help them hit off him. Johan had a 2.84 ERA in two starts against them last season while Buck was 0-for-3 with a walk and two strikeouts. Additionally, there have been reports in the past about Santana tipping his changeup, and I was told by former players that Santana tipped his changeup even when he was winning the Cy Young award with the Minnesota Twins. The point is that as long as Santana is healthy and has his best stuff, batters will have trouble hitting him even if they know what’s coming.
You can see Buck’s comments in the video below around the 2:50 mark: