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Johan Santana on return timetable: “Tough for me to guess”

Jan 13, 2012, 10:15 AM EDT

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Johan Santana is three weeks into his offseason throwing program and has advanced to long-tossing from 110 feet, but the two-time Cy Young award winner’s status for Opening Day remains uncertain 16 months after shoulder surgery.

During a conference call yesterday Santana told reporters that his shoulder “feels fine” and “everything is fine,” but then added:

It’s going to be tough for me to guess [about being ready for Opening Day] because I don’t know how I’m going to feel in two months. I’m going to follow everything the way that they want me to do and we’ll see how it feels. I cannot tell you what’s going to happen in five, six weeks from now. I’ll be lying to you. I’ve got to go one day at a time.

All of which sounds reasonable, but doesn’t really jibe with the fact that Santana was on the verge of returning to the Mets last September before a setback caused him to delay his comeback and eventually shut things down instead. If he was truly close to being game ready back in September then he should have plenty of time to be game ready by spring training, let alone by Opening Day.

Clearly, though, either Santana was nowhere near where he should have been for a comeback to be a smart, realistic option in September or his setback was more significant than the Mets let on at the time. Whatever the case, for him to be merely long-tossing 16 months after surgery isn’t the timetable the Mets were hoping for when he went under the knife and Santana remains a huge question mark for 2012 while being owed $55 million for the next two seasons.

  1. Brandon Warne - Jan 13, 2012 at 10:31 AM

    Someday when my grandkids ask me who won that deal, I will confidently say not the Mets, nor the Twins, but Johan Santana.

  2. kinggeorge96 - Jan 13, 2012 at 10:33 AM

    Is he turning into Carl Pavano before our very eyes??? Get him outta Queens, quick!!

    • trevorb06 - Jan 13, 2012 at 11:30 AM

      I’d welcome him back to Minnesota.

    • Jonny 5 - Jan 13, 2012 at 11:32 AM

      People probably think it wouldn’t make sense because they’d need to eat a huge chunk of salary, but when saving money trumps winning I wouldn’t be shocked a bit to see it happen. Any amount of money saved may make sense at this point. They already threw away 21.65 M last season on him. For this very reason back loading contracts on aging players makes less sense than front loading one or keeping an avg. salary throughout the term.

      2012 $24,000,000
      2013 $25,500,000
      2014 *$25,000,000 $25M Team Option, $5.5M Buyout

      • WhenMattStairsIsKing - Jan 13, 2012 at 12:49 PM

        If a signed player misses a whole damn season, there should be a clause & deal where insurance picks up a hefty amount of their salary. Talk about crazy.

      • Jonny 5 - Jan 13, 2012 at 1:05 PM

        There is insurance for player contracts, but the Mets decided his contract was one they’d “self insure”, most likely sinking money into a Madoff scheme. We know what happened there.

        http://espn.go.com/blog/new-york/mets/post/_/id/18607/in-depth-johan-insurance-drugs-diversity

  3. crashdog - Jan 13, 2012 at 10:52 AM

    Even when the Mets do something right, it ends up biting them. I used to laugh at the Mets organization, now I just feel empathy for the Mets fan base

  4. tsi4431 - Jan 13, 2012 at 11:41 AM

    Considering Johan is probably the only pitcher in MLB right now that is even throwing, I think he is doing just fine.

    • Brandon Warne - Jan 13, 2012 at 12:00 PM

      You don’t actually believe that, do you?

    • WhenMattStairsIsKing - Jan 13, 2012 at 12:51 PM

      If he’s lightly throwing now, it’s going to take him several months to build arm strength enough to be able to throw 90-100 hard-throwing pitches in an MLB game, with proper command.

  5. kranepool - Jan 13, 2012 at 2:12 PM

    There really is no need to rush Santana back into the starting rotation. The Mets have already clinched last place in the NL East

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