Saturday, March 23, 2013
Santana's ETA: Unknown
By Jason Catania
Following a lengthy stint on the disabled list to end last season, Johan Santana had hoped to start for the Mets on Opening Day. That possibility no longer exists, and even worse, Santana's return date is entirely up in the air at this point.
Not only will Santana open the season on the disabled list, the left-hander's timeframe for a return also remains unknown, reports ESPNNewYork.com's Adam Rubin.
Rubin writes that Santana is still bothered by left shoulder soreness and is only throwing from flat ground at a distance of 90 feet. Considering how much Santana would have to ramp up his throwing before going through a spring training-like preparation period, well, it could be a while.
Manager Terry Collins already has announced that fellow southpaw Jonathon Niese will get the nod in the Mets opener. Right-hander Jeremy Hefner is being readied for the rotation until Santana can return.
Aside from the problem of not having Santana to open the year, there's also the issue of whether the Mets even could use him as a trade chip during this, his final season under contract. Barring a near-miraculous turnaround, it's unlikely any club would consider the lefty at all.
Santana, you'll remember, had shoulder surgery back in 2010, missed all of 2011 and then spent the final six weeks of last season on the DL with lower-back inflammation. Hence, the Mets are being cautious with a pitcher they still expect to be a key member of their rotation.