Two time Cy Young Award winner Johan Santana hasn’t pitched in Major League Baseball since he was with the New York Mets in 2012. He then underwent his second major shoulder surgery, missing the 2013 season. He signed a minor league deal with the Baltimore Orioles in March.
Santana was getting ready to make his comeback participating in extended spring training in Florida when he was struck by a line drive Friday. He stumbled going after the ball. An MRI revealed he had torn his Achilles tendon. Dan Duquette, the Orioles’ vice president of baseball operations said,
“The tendon is severed, and it will in effect end his season. I know the rehab is significant for these tendon injuries. We’ll have to get with him and speak to him. But he won’t be able to pitch for the Orioles this season.”
Santana was about to make his comeback. The Orioles just purchased his contract from Triple-A Norfolk on Monday expecting the pitcher to be ready to play as soon as June 18. Now he will not be able to play this season which is a blow to both the Orioles and Santana. He’d been looking good in his rehabilitation and was on schedule.
“He was pitching well,” Duquette said. “The last time out he had his velocity and he was able to back-door his slider. I think he had eight strikeouts and no walks, so he was right on schedule. After (Friday), he was going to come up and join the major league team, and we were going to continue the rehab in (Double-A) Bowie. The skills are there. He’s been able to rehab his arm, but now he’s got another challenge.”
The 35-year old left-hander now has an uncertain future. He has another major injury to overcome. It may be just as difficult and take just as long to work through as the injury in his shoulder. If he misses the rest of this season and even part of next season he will be pushing retirement age. That doesn’t mean it is over though for Santana who will likely try to make another comeback, although that is as of now unconfirmed.
As Duquette put it,
“I was looking at it like a mid-season acquisition or trade. We invested in the rehab and we invested in the salary, and of course we wouldn’t have had to trade a player. Unfortunately it didn’t work. Sometimes you can plan and do things right, and they just don’t work out.”
The Orioles did do everything right and so did Santana but it was a freak accident and unfortunately things just did not work out this time for Baltimore.