Many players pick up a baseball for the first time in awhile at the start of Spring Training, but it means a little bit more for New York Mets ace, Johan Santana. Santana strained his pectoral muscle in early September last season, and ended up getting surgery to repair a torn anterior capsule on his left shoulder–knocking him out for the rest of 2010, and leading most to assume he’d miss the first half of 2011.
Tearing an anterior capsule is a unique injury and tough to rehab–especially for a pitcher–so it figures to be a slow return for the lefty. However, Santana seems to be in good spirits, and is confident about a fast recovery. In fact, he told Mets pitching coach Dan Warthen that he had already played catch three times at home without much restraint. Regardless of the bright news, Warthen plans to take it easy with his ace.
“I just don’t want him, because of who he is, to push himself to try to get there too early and have another setback,” Warthen said to ESPN reporters. “[…] And even last year he wasn’t going to go out in that game [against the Braves]. That’s who Johan is. Common sense has to prevail somewhere.”
It might be disappointing to start the season without Santana, but with Mike Pelfrey, Jon Niese, R.A. Dickey, Chris R. Young, and Chris Capuano in the fold, the Mets at least have a slew of capable pitchers to hold the fort until Santana returns. Even if the Mets starters exceed expectations, Mets fans should still hope that Santana can make a quick recovery, and take his rightful place atop the Mets rotation.