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They may need a boost if they want to stay in contention. New York (47-47) has lost eight of nine to fall back to .500 for the first time since it was 13-13 after play on May 4.

“We’re not done,” Santana said. “We’re just going to continue playing and hoping to put some wins together again.”

With the non-waiver trade deadline looming July 31, the Mets must quickly determine whether it would be wise to make a move.

“The presumption here is that we’re buyers, and it has been,” Alderson said. “Realistically, the next seven, eight or 10 games become important for us.”

The 33-year-old Santana is 0-3 with a 13.50 ERA in his last three outings. He has given up 19 runs, 28 hits and six homers over 12 2-3 innings, the worst stretch of his stellar career. He was pulled for a pinch-hitter after throwing 72 pitches in three innings Friday night.

“We sat for quite a while this morning in discussions with Johan and the training staff and we’ve pretty much determined that the ankle issue is bigger than anybody has realized,” Collins said. “Ever since he had the ankle injury he’s lost _ basically his command has not been there, due to the fact that we don’t think he can land properly. He’s using all arm to pitch, causing some fatigue in his shoulder. No pain, there’s just nothing there.”

Santana insisted his shoulder is OK.

“It’s just that when you start compensating and doing other things you get different results, especially with command of your pitches,” he said. “I feel fine, it’s just that you’ve got to (have) time to recover.”

So the stint on the DL is designed to give Santana rest, heal his ankle and rebuild his arm strength. Alderson said no tests are planned.

“As I told Johan, I don’t think anyone should be surprised by this,” the GM said. “Certainly no one as competitive as Johan wants to go on the disabled list. I think he recognized that was probably the best resolution in this case.”

Santana is 3-5 with a 6.54 ERA in eight outings since throwing a career-high 134 pitches June 1 against St. Louis to finish off the first no-hitter in Mets history. Some still wonder whether that one-night workload led to his recent slump, but Alderson doesn’t think so.

“I think really at this point it has more to do with the ankle,” he said.