Shoulder issues shut down J. Santana’s comeback bid

Johan Santana‘s latest comeback attempt has been halted by discomfort in his left shoulder, according to Nelson Medina Arnías of LVBP.com.

Santana, who will turn 36 in March, had been pitching in the Venezuelan Winter League as he attempts to work his way back to the Majors. He will now miss the league final due to the shoulder issue, though an MRI reportedly showed no structural damage.

The latest injury is a significnat blow for Santana, especially considering that he’s already had multiple shoulder surgeries in the past four years. Those shoulder problems forced him to miss all of both the 2011 and 2013 seasons, while he also missed the 2014 campaign after suffering a torn Achilles’ tendon during extended Spring Training with the Orioles last June.

The southpaw last pitched in the Majors in 2012, going 6-9 with a 4.85 ERA and two complete game shutouts over 21 starts. A two-time Cy Young Award winner, Santana led his respective league in ERA three times from 2004-08 and had a strong 2010 campaign (11-9, 2.98 ERA, 1.176 WHIP) before injuries derailed his career over the past five years.

Prior to the injury news, at least six teams — including the Yankees, Blue Jays and Padres — had been rumored to have interest in signing Santana to what would presumably be an incentive-laden deal. It’s unclear at this point exactly what affect this shoulder soreness will have on Santana’s comeback bid, but the chances of him breaking camp with any Major League club have certainly taken a serious hit.

— Paul Casella

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