When it comes to injuries, especially to the shoulders of pitchers, always bet the over. That’s my feeling after Mets pitcher Johan Santana refuted a published report his season could be in jeopardy.
Santana turned 32 today, and naturally the Mets are concerned about his recovery from surgery to repair a torn anterior capsule in his left shoulder. They’ve been worried since he walked off the mound last summer in pain, and it being his birthday simply makes it a logical time to revive the issue.
“We’re right on the right track,’’ Santana told reporters today. “Whoever is saying I’m not ready, I think is lying. We are all on the same page here. … How can you have a setback at this point, where I’m just beginning to throw? I haven’t even got on the mound. I haven’t even forced my body to try to throw hard.’’
We knew from the outset the recovery would be painful with no real timetable. There are always setbacks and days when Santana might feel better than others.
In addition to what Santana said, pitching coach Dan Warthen is putting a positive spin on things, but even so we must remember Sandy Alderson’s plan for him to throw off the mound by May 1 and be ready around the All-Star break is one of guarded optimism.
The clock won’t start until he gets off the mound, and even then, nothing is for certain.
Realistically, the Mets don’t know about Santana this season. How can they with so much murky water they are wading through? This is a new injury for Santana and nobody knows how his body will respond. Traditionally, with other pitchers, this is a difficult injury from which to recover.
The Mets can’t give up on Santana for 2011 because they’d like to know what they can expect from him for next year. Even so, they won’t push him as to risk a re-injury.
Santana might have been miffed his return this season is being questioned, but truth is we don’t know if he’ll ever be Johan Santana again.
We just don’t know how the rest of his career will play out, but the Mets must be smart about this and plan for the end and regard any return as a bonus.