New York Mets left-handed pitcher Johan Santana will miss the entire 2013 season due to a torn anterior capsule in his left shoulder. It will be the second surgery on the shoulder in 31 months.
This could be the end of Santana’s time in New York, and his career may be in jeopardy. The Mets owe him $31 million this season and a 2014 buyout.
“We just don’t know when this occurred,” Mets GM Sandy Alderson said. “We don’t know when it happened, how it happened. But what we do know is that at some point, symptoms appeared, and they worsened rather than improved.”
At first the Mets thought he just had weakness in his left shoulder and sent him back to New York for MRIs. The team doctor David Altchek diagnosed him with the tear and Santana sought second opinions from Dr. James Andrews and Dr. Lewis Yocum. Both confirmed the diagnosis.
Santana missed the entire 2011 season due to the same injury and when he came back 19 months later he wasn’t the same pitcher. The Mets pulled him mid-August after he went 0-5 with a 15.63 ERA over his final five starts. The team and Santana thought after a long winter rest he would be back to normal, but his lackluster results in spring training proved otherwise. Pitching coach Dan Warthen knew something was not right when the Santana did not throw the ball like he usually does.
With opening day just hours away the Mets are thrown in a loop and have to figure out their starting rotation. The rotation was not deep to start with. They have not yet named a replacement, which says a lot. If they had a top prospect or middle reliever, he would have been named already.
Only five pitchers had this surgery, which makes it hard to determine recovery and the affect it will have on Santana’s career. The surgery will take place on Tuesday and Dr. Altchek will perform it.