Johan Santana’s body will apparently not allow a comeback to happen. Or at least not without a bunch of setbacks first.
Finally healthy again after tearing his Achilles’ tendon last spring while coming back from multiple shoulder surgeries, Santana has been pitching in the Venezuelan winter league. But now he’s been ruled out for the remainder of the playoffs with shoulder soreness.
According to a report out of Venezuela he underwent an MRI exam that showed no structural damage, but Santana has struggled to recover from game action and everyone involved decided to shut him down.
Santana had two Cy Young awards and three ERA titles through age 29, when he led the league in ERA (2.53) and innings (234) for the Mets in 2008. Since then he’s been injured more often than not, including last pitching in the majors in 2012 and missing the entirety of three of the past four seasons.
What a shame.
The “and more” could be up to three additional teams interested in the former Cy Young Award winner’s services. At least if you believe Jon Heyman, who says that as many as a half dozen teams are looking at Johan Santana.
Santana hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2012 due to shoulder injuries, mostly. He’s 36 now and he’ll likely be in camp on a minor-league contract with the chance to compete for a bullpen job.
Johan Santana officially began his latest comeback attempt last night in Venezuela, retiring all six batters he faced in a winter ball appearance for his first action since a torn Achilles’ tendon in June.
According to the Associated Press he threw 17 pitches in two innings and failed to record a strikeout.
Santana seemed close to being called up by the Orioles when the injury ended his season and he’s still a long way from being declared healthy, but as far as baby steps go it was a good one for the former two-time Cy Young winner.
Santana hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2012, as shoulder injuries repeatedly derailed what once looked like a potential Hall of Fame career. At age 36 he’ll almost surely have to settle for a minor-league contract and compete for a job during spring training, and the Yankees are among the teams said to be interested.
This is not a report from 2006: Dan Martin of the New York Post reports that the Yankees are interested in Johan Santana.
As we noted over the weekend, Santana is embarking on another, possibly final comeback, playing in the Venezuelan Winter League. There have been some reports that he’s hitting 90 on the gun, but we’ve heard that before.
At this point he’d likely be had by giving him a minor league deal with a spring training invite, so it’ll cost essentially nothing to see if he can still get major league hitters out. Best case: you have a lefty who could possibly help out in the pen. Worst case: you’re out nothing. The Yankees gave Billy Crystal a spring training at bat once. It really doesn’t matter if they bring Santana in for a few weeks in February and March.
So yeah, expect to see Johan Santana in a spring training game for someone, even if it seems like a longshot that he’ll pitch in big league games that count again.
ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports that pitcher Johan Santana intends on continuing his career and expects to return to the major leagues in 2015, per his agent. His attempt at a comeback in the Orioles’ organization was halted last year when he tore his achilles tendon.
Santana, 36 in March, threw a simulated game earlier this week and is expected to make his Venezuelan Winter League debut on Tuesday for Navegantes del Magallanes. His fastball was clocked between 86 and 89 MPH. Santana expects to sign with a team before spring training.