Late yesterday morning, as Team Venezuela stretched in front of the visiting dugout near first base, Zack Wheeler and Johan Santana played catch, side-by-side down the left-field line.

Wheeler threw to pitching coach Dan Warthen and Santana to Pedro Feliciano on an otherwise empty field.

On the surface, here were two starters trying to distance themselves from physical issues, attempting to ready their bodies to finally get into spring games.

But it was hard to ignore the passing-the-baton symbolism.

The Santana Era already feels over, even with one year and $31 million still due the lefty. He was obtained to be a finishing piece, to take the Mets from contention to champions. And, of course, it just hasn’t transpired.

Santana has performed brilliantly in stretches, nearly winning a Cy Young in 2008, authoring the lone no-hitter in franchise history last year.

But his time here is marked mainly by the deterioration of both his body and the Mets — to the point that in Year 6 of Santana’s six-year contract the Mets are mostly wishing it were over. They could use the money more than Santana these days, especially because they know there is no Canyon of Heroes happy ending awaiting them together.