PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. (WFAN/AP) – If all goes well, Johan Santana may rejoin the New York Mets’ rotation by late June.
That’s their hope, anyway.
Santana’s season was cut short by surgery on his left shoulder in mid-September, and this is the first time the left-hander has started a year on the disabled list.
The two-time Cy Young winner began tossing from flat ground two weeks ago. General manager Sandy Alderson said team doctors have a plan projecting Santana throwing from a mound by April or early May and pitching in the majors less than two months later.
“If you do the math, that gets you into the end of June, the first part or middle part of July,” Alderson said.
Speaking to the media for the first time this spring, Santana said he was told that if he goes through proper rehabilitation, he should be able to return to his previous level of pitching. He is 133-69 with a 3.10 ERA over 11 seasons.
Santana said he is “optimistic” his career will not be affected by the injury — it was a tear in the anterior capsule, which he said is not a common ailment.
“Injuries are part of the game,” he said. “You never know when they are going to happen and how severe they will be and how they will affect your career. I am very optimistic. That’s the way I am. I am going to do my best to get in the best shape and try to strengthen my arm, but time will tell.”
So far, Santana said he hasn’t felt any pain since beginning to toss, only minor discomfort that is expected.
“I’ve been throwing for almost two weeks now, every other day,” Santana said. “I’ve got some tightness, but that’s part of what you are going to go through, I’m told, and I’m aware of that. I’ve just got to make sure every time before I throw I stretch really well, and then after I throw I feel fine, so that’s a good sign.”
Santana said he will continue to be patient during the rehab process, but admitted watching his team open a season without him will be difficult. Mike Pelfrey is set to take over as the Mets’ No. 1 pitcher during Santana’s absence.
“This will be different for me, but at the same time I am motivated that I want to come back and help my team as quick as possible,” Santana said.
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