Johan Santana suffers setback, will have shoulder examined

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Johan Santana’s comeback from shoulder surgery has hit a snag, with the Mets lefty complaining of soreness following his scoreless three-inning rehab start Thursday.

Santana’s next scheduled rehab outing has been canceled and he’ll instead be examined by doctors later this week.

Had he avoided any setbacks Santana appeared to be on track to potentially rejoin the Mets’ rotation by mid-August, but that seems highly unlikely now even if the examine reveals no major problems.

There’s zero reason for the Mets to rush him back, so it wouldn’t be surprising if they simply decided to make 2012 the new goal rather than messing around with a few September starts. Santana is owed $55 million over the next two seasons, so Thursday’s trip to the doctor is a big one.

The Nationals expect Bryce Harper to test free agency

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Earlier this week at the Winter Meetings, Scott Boras said that he and the Washington Nationals had had preliminary discussions about a contract extension for Bryce Harper. Harper, of course, can become a free agent following the 2018 season and is widely expected to command the largest contract in baseball history.

While that may have given some Nationals fans hope that no other team would get the chance to bid on him, the Nationals are of the view that they have no shot to sign Harper before he at least tests the free agent market. From USA Today’s Bob Nightengale:

A lot of this seems like mutual posturing, doesn’t it? Boras trying to make it appear as though the he and Harper are giving the Nats a fair hearing and the Nats trying to make it appear as though, no matter what they do, Harper is going to hit the market. I tend to believe, personally, that Boras and Harper are hellbent on testing the market, but it’s possible that there is some number that the Nats can offer to head that off, right? Maybe?

Either way: big year ahead for Harper.