Johan Santana to discuss situation with family; he's said to be leaning toward surgery

Johan Santana stands on the mound in the Johan Santana stands on the mound in the first inning after surrendering a two-run home run. (July 20, 2012) Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac

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PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Johan Santana has yet to decide whether to undergo a second major shoulder surgery in hopes of saving his career. He intends to discuss his future with his family during the Easter weekend.

But one day after learning of his career-threatening shoulder injury, Santana already is leaning toward surgery even though it means another arduous rehab.

"His intent is to pitch again," said a person with knowledge of the pitcher's thinking.

If that ultimately is the case, Mets captain David Wright knows better than to write off Santana's chances of recovery, regardless of the long odds.

"I'd bet on him if he decides that's the way he wants to go," Wright said of Santana, whose career is in doubt even if he follows through with surgery.

Mets players, still reeling from the news Friday, embraced what may be nothing more than the illusion of ambiguity surrounding Santana's future. Until he speaks publicly, until he shares his decision, until he eulogizes his own brilliant career, Santana's teammates took care not to do it for him.

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"I don't want to," said veteran reliever LaTroy Hawkins, a teammate of Santana's with the Twins. "Once he wraps his mind around it, then I'll wrap my mind around it, but not until we hear from Santana."

Wright spoke with Santana on Thursday night, when the Mets announced that he would need surgery to pitch again. He described the pitcher as being "in a bit of shock," not unlike those in the clubhouse. Wright described the mood with words such as disheartening, shocking and sad.

Said Wright: "I don't think anybody was expecting this."

Santana, 34, who missed 19 months after the procedure in 2010, faces the prospect of an excruciating rehab.

Mets lefthander Tim Byrdak, one of the few pitchers who have had the procedure, still is recovering from surgery last September. "To go through it a second time, it could actually be harder because you know what's ahead," Byrdak said. "The first time you go through it, it's kind of a mystery, so you're not really knowing what to expect. The second time, you know kind of your checkpoints coming up here, this is where we're at. Knowing the end result, how far away it is, is really rough."

Manager Terry Collins, pitching coach Dan Warthen and general manager Sandy Alderson dismissed the idea that Santana's latest shoulder woes stemmed from the 134 pitches he threw while no-hitting the Cardinals last June 1.

Questions still surround exactly when Santana suffered the injury. When he struggled early in spring training, he and the team called it fatigue, insisting that his shoulder was structurally sound.

"He comes in and I knew he hadn't thrown a whole lot, hadn't worked out a whole lot, you thought all right, this is going to take longer than what a normal spring training would be,'' Warthen said. "But as it continued on, yeah, it became a little bit more of a concern."

Though Santana never complained of pain, Collins said it was clear from watching him that "some things were wrong."

The precise root of Santana's injury might never be known, but Collins was certain of one thing: "As he goes into whatever his next phase is, he's going to go down in Mets history as truly one of the great pitchers that's ever been here."

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