PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- It was roughly nine years and 10 months ago that Johan Santana completed one of the most memorable accomplishments in Mets history, striking out David Freese to end the first -- and to this point, the only -- no-hitter the franchise has seen.
As the Mets continue an ongoing commitment toward honoring their history, the team announced Monday that it will fete Santana prior to its May 31 game against the Nationals at Citi Field. Both Santana and his catcher that night, Josh Thole, will be on hand for the ceremony.
"I can't believe it's been 10 years almost since we made history," Santana said on a Zoom call. "Every time you look back, you think about it and you bring back those memories, and it's always like, 'Wow, I can't believe I've done that.' But it's part of what we do. It's part of history now."
"It truly seems like it was yesterday," Thole added. "For me, going through and navigating the game, getting deeper into the game, is what will always forever stand out."
Both Santana and Thole also will participate in Old-Timers' Day on Aug. 27, with Thole -- at age 35, one of the youngest and spryest participants in the game -- agreeing to catch all nine innings. It's part of a continued connection to baseball for both. Santana said he aims to return to the professional ranks at some point, though he's not sure when or in what capacity. Thole, who retired after the 2020 season, now provides lessons to young players.
"I'm a baseball rat," Thole said. "Sitting back, watching the games, [I'm] kind of missing Spring Training a little bit. But I have to say the Mets have been wonderful to me. I did the fantasy camp, Old-Timers' Day, these kinds of things. I think this is what keeps me connected to the game more than anything."
In the absence of a Grapefruit League game on Monday, the Mets held a six-inning simulated game at Clover Park. Among those who pitched were back-end relievers Edwin Díaz, Seth Lugo and Trevor May, all of whom contributed scoreless innings. Lugo was particularly impressive in a perfect inning, striking out two batters looking.
"He's a pro," manager Buck Showalter said. "He's good. I'm glad he's on our side. He gives me a very versatile pitcher."
Lugo, who largely became a one-inning pitcher last year after establishing himself as a multi-inning "fireman" in years past, said he expects to stretch out to two innings before the end of camp. He hopes to do more of that sort of thing during the regular season.
The Mets have one more camp day scheduled for Saturday, with Max Scherzer scheduled to pitch.