Johan return in June may be best bet


Terry Collins may be proven correct in speculating a June return for Johan Santana.

Johan Santana

Starting Pitcher
New York Mets


A second official with knowledge of Santana's rehab plan said the left-hander originally intended to pick up a baseball for the first time following shoulder surgery in late January. But a quicker recovery so far has led to a decision to begin tossing early next month instead.

Santana could be in rehab games sometime in May, with a return to the Mets the following month.

Of course, even the most informed estimates are still that -- estimates -- since it is not possible to know if Santana will steadily progress without any hiccups in his rehab schedule.

More sobering, Santana is not expected to return to his prime form this season, even if his bulldog mentality means he will get the most out of what his body allows.

Santana's absence for at least a couple of months of the season leaves the Mets' rotation in difficult shape. For now, Mike Pelfrey, Jon Niese and R.A. Dickey are the Nos. 1-3 starters. The rotation could be rounded out with Chris Young (or some free agent of that ilk) and Dillon Gee, with a bunch of minor league free agents brought in to compete with Gee for that No. 5 spot.