Johan Santana has suffered an apparent setback in his comeback from injury that ended his 2012 season prematurely. His first Spring Training start has been pushed back for as many as two weeks.
Team doctor David Altchek, who is visiting Port St. Lucie (why he is not there full time is beyond me), examined Santana on Thursday. After conferring with the good doctor, Sandy Alderson said there was “mutual recognition that maybe things needed to be backed off a little bit.”
Alderson insisted Santana is not injured. “There’s no structural issue,” he told ESPNNewYork.com. “It’s just a matter of building up strength. So he’ll be long-tossing before he gets back on the mound. We expect that his schedule will have been delayed somewhat.
“It’s a matter of just getting into a development progression. It’s not a soreness thing. I wouldn’t even call it a weakness. It’s just where he is in his program is somewhat behind based on his winter and the injury from last year and his loss of the second half of the season. So he’s just a little behind schedule.”
Whether he is “injured” or not, this cannot be good news for Johan Santana. He threw one bullpen session, and now he is being held back?
I’m not writing Santana off, but if he cannot come back from his physical problems, what he was able to manage during the first half of 2012 was all the more amazing. That he was able to pitch so well, including the no-hitter, while his shoulder was figuratively (and possibly literally) hanging by a thread shows what a competitor and smart pitcher he is.
But lets hope we haven’t seen the last of Johan Santana. That would be quite sad.