Johan Santana’s season is over.
The Mets announced before last night’s game against the Rockies at Citi Field that Santana was placed on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to Aug. 18 after an MRI discovered inflammation in his lower back. Despite Santana not needing surgery, the organization “does not expect him to pitch the rest of the season,” according to general manager Sandy Alderson.
“In the big scope of things, this has been a very positive year for him,” manager Terry Collins said. “He’s made it through a surgery that no one thought he could. He’s healthy; he’s got a tweak in his back, but with rest and exercise it will go away. There’s no reason to expect that next spring we’ll have anything but probably [a pitcher in] the best condition he’ll be in, in a long time.
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“He’s looking at the season as a bright spot,” Collins said. “I think he should absolutely look at it that way going into the winter.”
Santana, who missed all of 2011 recuperating from anterior capsule surgery on his left shoulder, finishes 2012 with a 6-9 record, 4.88 ERA and .258 opponents’ batting average. He was 1-7 with an 8.26 ERA in the 10 starts after throwing the franchise’s first no-hitter on June 1, including a 0-3 mark with a 15.63 ERA in his last five starts.
Alderson said doctors “prescribed rest, medication and, of course, intermittent exercise” for Santana. The GM, manager and starter believe the extended rest will benefit Santana, who started throwing last Dec. 15 in order to prepare for spring training and the season.
Santana threw 134 pitches in the 8-0 no-hit win over the Cardinals, leading many — including Collins — to question whether the reward was worth the risk. The criticism was reiterated when the Mets placed Santana on the 15-day DL on July 21 with a sprained right ankle.
Collins said yesterday he thinks about the amount of pitches Santana threw in the no-hitter, but added he “has to trust [Santana]. I have to trust what he says and how he talked about [how he felt].” Santana brushed off that notion when he met with reporters an hour before the game, while Alderson said he did not see “a correlation” between the 134-pitch outing and the injury that ended Santana’s season.
“There is no issue with his ankle, no issue with his shoulder,” Alderson said. “Obviously with a back problem and continuing to pitch, that [in] itself could lead to problems with the shoulder or the ankle or the elbow, and [that’s] another reason why we’re trying to be cautious about this.”
The Mets called up Collin McHugh from Buffalo to start Thursday’s series finale.
Follow Mets beat writer Denis Gorman on Twitter @DenisGorman.