In the event Santana isn't ready, Jon Niese will be the Opening Day starting pitcher, Collins explained.
Niese has allowed one earned run on six hits with five walks in 12 2/3 innings this spring.
Niese has looked really strong this spring - he seems to have picked up right where he left off last year. In fact, he is one of the very few players that isn't a question mark heading into the regular season.
As for Santana, my gut says it will be at least mid-April before he is activated. Yes, he's doing long-toss and building up strength, but he needs to be able to throw a bullpen, go through some normal cycles at camp, and then start building innings in games; there's just not enough time left for him to do that during Spring Training, and that assumes everything is smooth sailing from now on.