Johan Santana, originally announced as the starter for the second-half opener in Atlanta on Friday, will be pushed back to allow his right ankle extra time to heal, Terry Collins said.
Santana twisted the ankle covering first base Friday, then was stepped on by the Cubs' Reed Johnson on the play.
Collins insisted there was nothing alarming with Santana's ankle, and maintained extra rest was simply prudent. A team spokesman said Santana was not available to discuss the change of plans.
Dillon Gee will now take the second-half opener Friday at Turner Field opposite Tim Hudson. R.A. Dickey will remain the Saturday starter.
Terry Collins expects Jason Bay will begin a rehab assignment with Class A St. Lucie on Wednesday. The manager added that Bay, who has been on the disabled list since suffering a concussion on June 15, also will appear for Triple-A Buffalo before being activated from the disabled list. That places the likely timetable for Bay's return as the series at Washington that opens next Tuesday.
Closer Frank Francisco has a similar timetable for a return from a left oblique strain. Francisco threw off a mound Saturday in Port St. Lucie, Fla., for the first time since suffering the injury. He again is due to throw off a mound tomorrow, and could be in the same rehab game as Bay on Wednesday, according to Collins.
As for Andres Torres, who remains active despite missing the entire Cubs series with back discomfort, the center fielder is hoping to be available Friday in Atlanta for the second-half opener. Torres said he will remain in New York during the break and get treatment.
According to Collins, Santana either will start Sunday in Atlanta or Tuesday at Washington, after a team off-day. Jon Niese will handle the other game.
Chris Young still waits until the fifth game of the second half, July 18, in order to return the mound.