It’s becoming less and less likely that Mets starter Johan Santana will be able to return to major league action before the 2011 season is through.
According to beat writer Adam Rubin of ESPN New York, the rehabbing southpaw has been cleared to return to Port St. Lucie, Florida after a successful checkup back in Queens, but he will not step back atop a mound for at least another week.
The Mets are hoping that a more cautious approach will help Santana avoid further setbacks. He was shut down for a period earlier this month due to fatigue in his surgically-repaired shoulder.
Santana hasn’t pitched in the big leagues since early September, 2010, and is quickly running out of time here one season later. The 32-year-old is owed a salary of $24 million next year and $25.5 million in 2013.
Remember Manny Banuelos? He was once a top pitching prospect for the Yankees and then, apparently disappeared from the face of the earth. Or at least it felt like it. Now he’s in the news, however, as the Dodgers have signed him to a minor league contract.
OK, Banuelos didn’t disappear. He was traded to the Braves in 2015, had a cup of coffee with them, pitching pretty ineffectively in seven big league games, was released by Atlanta in the middle of 2016 and then latched on with the Angels. This past season he posted a 4.93 ERA over 95 innings while being used mostly as a reliever at Triple-A Salt Lake.
Banuelos pitched in the Future’s Game in 2009 and was a star in the Arizona Fall League in 2010. He was a top-50 prospect heading into 2011 before falling to Tommy John surgery in 2012. With Atlanta he suffered some bone spur problems and then some elbow issues that never resulted in surgery but which never subsided enough for him to fulfill his potential either. He suffered injuries. A lot of pitchers do.
It’s unrealistic to think that Banuelos will fulfill the promise he had six years ago, but he’s worth a minor league deal to see if the 26-year-old can at least be a serviceable reliever.