La Russa: Collins did “the right thing” during Johan’s no-hitter
Not long after Johan Santana threw the first no-hitter in Mets history, former Cardinals manager Tony La Russa called Terry Collins to share his thoughts on the game — including the decision to leave Santana and his surgically-repaired left shoulder in for a career-high 134 pitches. La Russa discussed the genesis of that phone call Wednesday:
“I happened to be in New York and I watched every pitch even though I wasn’t at the ballpark,” La Russa said. “The thing starts developing and since I’m not in it, I watch these games and try to put myself in each manager’s shoes. I was managing for Mike [Matheny] and I was managing for Terry. All of the sudden you have what was really, clearly a terrific dilemma.
“I could just tell by looking at his face. He was really grinding on it, and I know the pitching coach was. They wanted to do the right thing. What’s the right thing? It was a really tough call, and they’re worried about his health first and foremost. I just knew what he was going through and it was really quick. When he got the last out, if you look at his face, he was the only guy in the ballpark that was not cheering and celebrating. I knew it was because he had doubts about pushing it.
“I just called for whatever my opinion was worth. I think we were raised the same way about protecting pitchers and caring for them. But I just think the sense of history and the drama. I saw him talk to [Santana] a couple of times. I’m sure he said he’s good to go. So as long as he did that, in my opinion, he had done the right thing. And then I read his comments and I knew that he was still beating himself up, and he was going to want and see how he came out of that. I just wanted him to know before he ever found out if Johan’s got some extra stiffness and soreness, in my opinion, he did the right thing.”
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