NEW YORK -- Perhaps no one better understands what Johan Santana experienced Friday night than Tom Seaver, who stood on the mound in a Mets uniform with a no-hitter in the ninth inning three times.

Seaver just never finished his.

The Hall of Fame pitcher became the poster child of the Mets' long futility with no-hitters, and he learned of the franchise's changed fortunes when he picked up the newspaper Saturday morning at his Calistoga, Calif., home.

"Honestly, not having a no-hitter was an anomaly," Seaver said. "It's great to get this off the franchise's back. Now they can't say,'The Mets are without a no-hitter.'"

Seaver threw a one-hitter five times with the Mets, then threw a no-hitter against the Cardinals on June 16, 1978, as a member of the Reds. He won 198 games with the Mets, and that made it worth it to him.

"I never looked back on losing a no-hitter as long as we won," he said. "I would trade a no-hitter for two wins."

In no-no aftermath, Johan is Collins' priority

NEW YORK -- Leftover adrenaline and the constant ringing of his phone kept Johan Santana from sleeping much Friday night after throwing the first no-hitter in Mets history in an 8-0 win over the Cardinals. The strain of the decision to leave Santana in as his pitch count climbed to a career-high 134 kept manager Terry Collins awake all night.

"I went against just about everything I stand for, and that's taking a chance to hurt your whole ballclub for the next four months for an instant decision of glory in one inning," Collins said. "Is it worth it? I believe in the organization and I believe in the team, and I'm not here to destroy any of it. In my heart, I was very, very excited for Johan, very excited for everybody, but I kind of felt like I had made the wrong move."

Collins thinks long-term with every decision he makes, but it becomes even more important with his ace returning from shoulder surgery and still unsure of how far he can actually push his $137 million left arm.

Collins received a vote of confidence from general manager Sandy Alderson and chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon, but he continues to struggle with his decision as he waits for Santana to see how his shoulder responds and formulates a plan to move back the left-hander's next start a day or two.

"When I went home last night and sat down, all I could think about was, 'How am I going to get this guy to pitch again in the near future, the next five days?'" Collins said. "We can't rush him back. We have to make sure he's going to be OK."

Santana insisted he felt fine a day removed from his second consecutive shutout -- the first came on only 96 pitches against the Padres, also at Citi Field. But he recognized it will take a few days to recover and throw a bullpen session, and he is not against delaying his next start to ensure his shoulder is healthy.

There was just no way that was affecting his decision on the mound.

"More than thinking about risking anything and my next start, it was more about 'It's there,'" Santana said. "I didn't mean to make this happen, but I'm not going to let it go away, because I may never have a chance to do it again. Rather than thinking about something ahead, I was just trying to do my job then."

Collins said his heart told him to take Santana out after he said in his pregame news conference that he would limit the 33-year-old to about 110 pitches.

But the second-year Mets manager was aware of the history -- that after 50-plus seasons of sending the likes of Tom Seaver, Dwight Gooden, Jerry Koosman, Ron Darling and Sid Fernandez (who threw two no-hitters at Class A under Collins) to the mound, the franchise had never had a no-hitter -- and that risk was just as great.

"If this guy goes down, it would be pretty drastic for us," Collins said. "But also to understand there's history in the making and in the moment, in that particular moment, he wasn't coming out. I wasn't taking him out."

There was a point in the game where Collins admitted to thinking it might be best if St. Louis just got a hit, but he also realized he was taking part in "one of the most exciting evenings I've ever spent in baseball."

And he realized pulling Santana would not be easy.

"The fight that would've taken place on the mound had I taken him out would have been a bigger story than the no-hitter," Collins laughed.

So he sent Santana to the plate in the seventh inning, and when the starter took the mound for eighth inning, it was his game until the Cardinals recorded a hit.

They never did.

"I knew Mets fans were waiting for this," Santana said. "This is theirs, too."

Baxter likely out for six weeks after catch

NEW YORK -- Left fielder Mike Baxter was diagnosed with a displacement of his right collarbone next to his sternum and fractured rib cartilage, and he will likely be out six weeks. He met with doctors before Saturday's 5-0 win over the Cardinals at Citi Field, undergoing tests after he slammed into the wall making a no-hitter-saving catch Friday in the seventh inning.

"Today there's still some pain," Baxter said. "I'm kind of tight throughout my chest and back. Obviously where I hit the wall is tight. This morning we found out more about what's going on in the chest. Definitely a little painful, but it's unfortunate and we have to try and get better."

Baxter said he was experiencing discomfort from a left shoulder contusion in the clubhouse after Johan Santana completed the first no-hitter in Mets history on Friday. Baxter underwent an MRI, a CT scan and concussion tests, and there is no trace of a concussion.

The doctors watched film of the play to help determine the damage the wall induced. Baxter said he knew right away that something was wrong. The plan for Baxter is to rest. His injury needs to heal before further treatment can be determined.

"Very comparative to Jason [Bay's]," Baxter said of the injury. "Maybe a little different because of the actual thing that happened, but time frame-wise, our doctors were in agreement that it's kind of around that window."

Bay has been out since April 23 with a cracked rib.

When Baxter came off the field on Friday, trainers initially thought the injury was to his left arm because the left fielder had relayed information that the arm had gone numb. Doctors determined the numbness was a result of nerve damage in the arm, and all the structural damage is the right side of Baxter's body.

"It could be a lot worse, talking to the doctors," Baxter said. "From that aspect, we're a little bit lucky with the way it turned out. Unfortunately it's just going to take some time to heal now."

Wright, Mets stick to no negotiations in season

NEW YORK -- David Wright has no plans to open up contract negotiations for a long-term extension with the Mets during the season. The two sides agreed prior to the start of the season that they would table talks until the season is over. Wright said nothing has changed on that front.

"We're talking about me when we should be talking about we," Wright said. "We made the decision before we had even started, and we kind of stuck to that. The last few days, there's been much to do about nothing. It's time to let everyone know, so there's no more questions and other guys aren't getting bothered by it."

Wright signed a contract extension in the middle of the season in 2006. He said he learned from that experience and does not want to have the distraction bother him this year.

"It's very difficult to go out there and play the game when in the back of your mind, you know your representatives are meeting with the team or there's supposed to be a meeting tomorrow," Wright said. "I feel like the offseason is a much better time where we can sit down and figure out something."

Celebration proves costly for Mets' Ramirez

NEW YORK -- Mike Baxter was not the only casualty of Johan Santana's no-hitter Friday against the Cardinals. Reliever Ramon Ramirez is headed for the disabled list after straining his hamstring while running in from the bullpen to celebrate.

Manager Terry Collins said there would be a corresponding roster move before Sunday's game against St. Louis at Citi Field.

"He was just running in. He hadn't even gotten to the pile where they were jumping on [Santana]," Collins said. "He was just so excited. He was running in, running hard and all of a sudden, his leg grabbed him. I've never seen that."