Johan Santana could be cleared for rehab start next week

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Johan Santana is about 10 months removed from shoulder surgery and Adam Rubin of ESPN New York reports that he might be ready for a return to game action in the minors.

Santana threw a three-inning simulated game today and is scheduled to throw a bullpen session Sunday, at which point the Mets could clear him to begin a rehab assignment.

Prior to coming off the disabled list today David Wright faced Santana while rehabbing a back injury of his own in Florida and gave Rubin a pretty encouraging scouting report on the two-time Cy Young winner’s status:

The stuff’s there. I just think that little extra oomph isn’t quite there at this time, but that’s expected. … There’s no question he’s building momentum.

Various reports throughout the past few months have pegged mid-August as the goal for Santana returning to the majors and that certainly looks plausible now. However, with two years and $55 million remaining on Santana’s contract there isn’t a ton of difference between his rejoining the rotation in mid-August or even for just a few starts in September. As long as he heads into the offseason healthy and with some reps against big-league hitters under his belt the Mets should be happy. So far so good.

Joe Musgrove shut down with ab discomfort

Joe Musgrove
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Pirates right-hander Joe Musgrove is done for the year after suffering an abdominal wall muscle strain and stress reaction in his pelvic bone. While he isn’t expected to undergo surgery or miss additional time in 2019, he’s been prescribed six weeks of rest before resuming any baseball-related activities.

Musgrove, 25, finished out his third year in Pittsburgh with a 6-9 record in 19 starts, backed by a 4.06 ERA, 1.8 BB/9, and 7.8 SO/9. Despite logging a career-high 115 1/3 innings at the major league level, he’s also been dogged by a string of injuries, from the shoulder strain that robbed him of eight weeks at the start of the season to an index finger infection that kept him sidelined for a minimum 10-day stay on the disabled list in June.

While he works his way back up to full strength yet again, rookie right-hander Nick Kingham is expected to cover for him and will make a spot start during the Pirates’ series finale against the Brewers on Sunday. The 26-year-old righty hasn’t started a single game for the team since August 1, and currently carries a 4.69 ERA, 2.7 BB/9, and 8.1 SO/9 over 71 innings out of the rotation and bullpen.