The Mets officially denied Johan Santana’s request to pitch in the World Baseball Classic, Sandy Alderson told reporters today.

“He wants to play. We know that,” Alderson explained. “But, under the circumstances, we don’t think it’s in his best interest or ours. … We think that he will be better served with a full, routine, progressive spring training as opposed to the accelerated program the WBC would represent.”

Yesterday at Tradition Field, Santana threw a bullpen session off the mound. Terry Collins later said Santana will make his first Grapefruit League start on March 2.