Johan Santana’s recovery from surgery to repair the anterior capsule of his shoulder, may not go as smoothly as some have suggested.
Comparisons were made to position players like Jorge Posada of the Yankees who had the same surgery and recovered just fine. But comparing a position player to a pitcher when it comes to shoulder surgery, is not a very good comparison in my opinion. An average starting pitcher throws a pitch at full strength about 5,000 – 6,000 times in one season counting warm-ups, spring training and bullpens. Comparing that kind of stress and workload on a shoulder to that of a catcher or first baseman is really an unfair comparison. It’s like comparing apples to oranges.
Two pitchers who have recently had the same surgery as what Santana will undergo, are Chien-Ming Wang and Mark Prior. Each of them have had a tear in their anterior capsule surgivally repaired. Unfortunately, niether have thrown a pitch ever since their procedures and are still recovering over 12 months later.
Of course, everyone is different and some players recover better than others. There’s a chance that Johan Santana could recover by April, but like Johan himself said yesterday, there’s also a chance that it could be October as well.
Santana is owed $72 million dollars over the next three seasons, and will earn $22.5 MM in 2011, a little less than 20% of the team’s payroll.
For everybody’s sake, lets hope Johan fares better than Wang or Prior. Santana’s recovery and rehab this Winter, will be one of the most closely monitored rehabilitations in recent history for the Mets. There’s a lot riding on it.