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.
The Blue Jays placed right-hander Aaron Sanchez on the 10-day disabled list with a contusion in his right index finger, per a team announcement on Saturday. The assignment is retroactive to Friday. In a corresponding move, righty Marcus Stroman was activated from the DL (right shoulder fatigue) and will take the mound for the Blue Jays at 9:07 PM ET tonight.
Sanchez, 25, is in his fifth season with the club. He hasn’t looked his sharpest so far this year, going 3-5 in 15 starts with a career-worst 4.52 ERA, 5.1 BB/9 and 7.6 SO/9 through 79 2/3 innings. It’s not yet clear how long he’ll be sidelined, though he could miss as little as one turn in the rotation before returning to the roster in the next week or two.
Sanchez isn’t the only struggling starter in Toronto’s rotation, either. Per MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm, the team placed southpaw Jaime Garcia on the DL (right shoulder tenderness) as well, with lefty reliever Tim Mayza scheduled to take his spot on the roster. In 13 starts this season, Garcia carried a 2-6 record, 6.16 ERA, 4.5 BB/9 and 8.2 SO/9 over 61 1/3 innings. Any further decisions pertaining to the rotation — including Tuesday’s starter against the Astros — have yet to be publicly addressed.