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Mets Spring Training 2012: Johan Santana Earns Opening Day Start

Just days away from opening their 2012 season, the New York Mets and manager Terry Collins revealed their Opening Day starting pitcher -- Johan Santana. The two-time Cy Young Award winner, who hasn't thrown a pitch since Sept. of '10, will start opposite of Atlanta Braves starter Tommy Hanson on Thursday, April 5 (1:10 p.m. on SNY). Santana will be making his seventh Opening Day start of his career, fifth with the Mets.

"It means everything that we have done since I had my surgery, all the way to today, has been paid off," Santana said. "We worked hard. And I'm very happy. I'm very happy that I have an opportunity to start the season from Day 1 with the team. That's something that I really was looking forward to. I'm excited about it."

The announcement came less than 24 hours after Santana tossed an intensive bullpen session on Saturday. The performance allowed Collins to proclaim Sunday morning: "You've got your pitcher for Thursday."

Collins also solidified the five-man pitching rotation, which will feature: Santana, R.A. Dickey, John Niese, Mike Pelfrey and Dillon Gee, respectively.

For a closer look at the projected Mets Opening Day lineup, SB Nation New York's Ryan Jones as a rudown.

For more coverage of the Mets, visit our blog Amazin' Avenue or return to this StoryStream for Spring Training updates. If you'd like more on baseball's Spring Training, check out SB Nation's Baseball Nation.