The Johan Santana Rehab Setback Story

In yesterday's Record, Steve Popper and Bob Klapisch coauthored a column on Johan Santana's slow recovery from offseason shoulder surgery, intimating that so discouraged are the Mets with Santana's progress that they're seriously considering shutting down his rehabilitation.

One member of the Mets’ organization said that the team is ready to shut down the rehabilitation schedule for Santana if he does not feel comfortable after what is expected to be a simple session of playing catch.

This strikes me as saying something while not really saying anything at all. It takes very little imagination to interpret it to mean, "Some random person associated with the Mets thinks that if things start going really badly in Santana's recovery that'd he'll be asked to slow down the rehab timetable." Well, duh.

Internally, the Mets believe they’ll be "lucky" if Santana pitches this year.

As no one in the Mets' organization was actually quoted in the article, it's not clear why the authors chose to enclose "lucky" in quotes here. All other source material was paraphrased, so unless our anonymous team official agreed to go on record for just one word, we can only conclude that "lucky" was meant to be taken in that casually ironic way typically reserved for denigration (e.g.: Nickelback is a "rock band"), which will only leave readers (including yours truly) more perplexed by its use here.

Popper is a straight shooter, though Klapisch has rarely said a nice thing about the Mets in the past two decades (in tepid defense, the Mets have been bad for much of the last 20 years). So far, nobody has stepped up to corroborate the story, though it has been refuted by Santana and the Mets. In describing his rehab, Santana had this to say:

"There's nothing new. We're keeping track of everything. After I'm done working, I'm fine. It takes time. I know that. I still have to go slow, because whatever you want to do, regardless, you're arm is going to tell you something else. That's why this process is very slow."

...

"How can anyone who isn't me know how I feel and say I'm behind? How can I be behind if there's no timetable? All we know is that it takes a long time. And no one is sure how long or how I will react to the program. Other people have had this, and they're not me."

He also said this:

"I don't know who's saying that I'm not ready or whatever because according to everything, the way it has been done, we're right on the right track and where we're supposed to be. Whoever is saying that I'm not ready I think is lying.

But those are just printed words! Here it is straight from the workhorse's mouth:

If there's something wrong with the progress of Santana's rehab, pitching coach Dan Warthen isn't saying anything:

"We've been actually sneaking him back a couple of extra feet each time without him really knowing it, but I think he does know it. The arm is working in great position -- he's getting it up. He's missed a day here and there, but he's gone back-to-back because he missed [on] his wife's birthday. We gave him an extra day there. So everything is going right on target, maybe a little bit ahead."

The Mets would be understandably reluctant to divulge any information about Santana's stalled progress, as the certainty of no Santana in 2011 might be the death knell for whatever slim hopes the Mets have of contending this season. But unless or until someone of more considerable gravitas than a "member of the Mets' organization" comes forward to affirm Santana's setback during rehabilitation, I'll be busy watching spring training games and whittling sticks.

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