Santana “expects to be ready” for Opening Day

It seems a minor firestorm has stemmed from one of Mets general manager Sandy Alderson’s stray comments Tuesday regarding Johan Santana. Speaking about his rotation as a whole during the team’s holiday party, Alderson said:

“We do have some question marks of course, with Santana being one of them. We think he’s going to be ready, but he might not be.”

This is not news. Last anyone heard a concrete update on the left-hander”s status back in September, Santana was skipping his final Minor League rehab start of the season for reasons not completely unrelated to caution. He then proceeded to cut short his instructional league assignment and decline to pitch in Winter Ball. Again, all out of caution.

On Wednesday, the day after Alderson’s admission, one of Santana’s agents issued this byte via Twitter:

Which is encouraging, but there is no way to be certain. The history of pitchers rehabbing from torn anterior shoulder capsules — Mark Prior and Chien-Ming Wang being the two most prominent examples — is not good; even when those two were able to pitch following their injuries, they struggled to recover between outings.

All of which is to say no one — not Santana, not Alderson, not Leible or lead agent Peter Greenberg or even Santana’s battery of doctors and specialists — can know for sure how he will respond. Until Santana climbs on a mound next month and begins throwing again, it is impossible to say with any degree of certainty that the lefty will or will not be ready for Opening Day.

All Mets fans can right now is hope.

—–Follow along on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

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