He waded among the players as they stretched, a lone blue jersey squeezing through a sea of burgundy. Johan Santana patted one player on the head. He grabbed another near the jersey buttons. He grappled with another on the grass.

In a more fruitful spring, the former Twins ace would have been stretching alongside Venezuela's players. But this has not been a fruitful spring for Santana.

Earlier this spring, the Mets blocked Santana from playing for his homeland in the World Baseball Classic. Earlier this month, the general manager told a reporter that Santana reported to camp out of shape. Earlier this week, Santana sniped at the team's beat writers.

Aside from some itinerant attempts to chase those writers from his personal space, he has not spoken to them since.

So it had to be difficult for Santana to sit there and watch as his countrymen beat the Mets, 14-10, at Tradition Field in a tuneup for the World Baseball Classic.