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Johan looks to add to his legend vs. Yankees

Johan looks to add to his legend vs. Yankees

WASHINGTON -- Everyone has a story, every story a perspective. Rehabbing outfielder Jason Bay had just arrived back at his Port St. Lucie, Fla., hotel last Friday when he noticed a newsflash that Johan Santana was throwing a no-hitter. Bay ran down to the lobby to see if his hotel had access to the broadcast. No luck. So he bolted back upstairs and tried to follow the play-by-play on his iPad.

"I think I was about 10 minutes behind everybody else," Bay said, laughing. "It wasn't the most exciting way to watch it."

The most exhilarating perspective, of course, came from the 27,069 fans in attendance, as well as from Santana's 24 teammates on the Mets. And at least some slice of that excitement will remain when Santana makes his encore Friday night at Yankee Stadium, pitching for the first time since his historic no-hitter.

"I'm feeling pretty good," manager Terry Collins said. "I know he's good and healthy, good and ready to go. It will be fun. It's always fun. To me, this is why you have Interleague Play."

In the days since Santana threw a no-hitter, he has bounced through a whirlwind of nationwide publicity and attention, from jokes on David Letterman and Jon Stewart's television programs, to a phone call from New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg. He started making plans to sift through his memorabilia from the game, deciding what to keep and what to donate to the Hall of Fame.

More important to the Mets, Santana has bounced back from the career-high 134 pitches he threw with no apparent trouble. The left-hander played catch multiple times this week and threw his routine between-starts bullpen session on Tuesday, proving to Collins that his surgically-repaired left shoulder is just fine.

Even so, Collins shuffled his rotation to give Santana an extra day of rest, considering he is still less than two years removed from major shoulder surgery. That, coincidentally, lined him up to face the Yankees.

"I felt fine the whole time," Santana said. "That extra day is always good. When you have an opportunity to get an extra day, that's something that we talked about from the beginning, is always going to be good."

Even without the emotion of a no-hitter encore, the atmosphere at Yankee Stadium should be electric throughout the first Subway Series clash of the summer. The Yankees are riding one of their best runs of the season, while the Mets are coming off an uplifting win against the Nationals to avoid a series sweep.

"They're revved up," Collins said of his team. "They should be. They're baseball players going to go play on the biggest stage there is to play on. The veterans are going to have to do a good job of making sure we keep the atmosphere calm, and going to play the way we know how."

That will start with Santana, one of the most-respected veterans in baseball -- and also one of its fiercest competitors. In that sense, the man at the epicenter of Friday's party-like atmosphere should also be the Mets' most calming influence.

Santana has had success at the old Yankee Stadium, beating the Yankees all three times he faced them at the old ballpark. He struck out 18 batters over 22 innings in those matchups, walking just one and posting a 0.82 ERA. He has had less success in the ballpark, going 0-2 with a 13.00 ERA in the two starts.

But lately, he has been sensational. So the Mets like their chances with Santana on the mound.

"I want to win," second baseman Daniel Murphy said, "so I'm excited to see him back out there."

Making his no-hit encore against the Yankees should only add to the atmosphere.

"I don't like Interleague Play, but this is why you have it," Collins said. "So that the two teams in one city can get everybody in town excited."

Anthony DiComo is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDicomo.
Read More: New York Mets, Johan Santana