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.