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Johan Santana starts comeback attempt in Venezuela

Johan Santana looks on from the dugout against

Johan Santana looks on from the dugout against the Colorado Rockies at Citi Field. Credit: Jim McIsaac, 2012

CARACAS, Venezuela - Johan Santana retired six straight batters on Tuesday night in the Venezuelan Winter League, the first outing for the two-time AL Cy Young Award winner since he tore an Achilles tendon last June.

Starting for the Magallanes Navigators in a 10-2 victory over the Aragua Tigers, the Venezuela left-hander threw 17 pitches and didn't have any strikeouts in the two-inning outing.

Santana, 139-78 in 12 major league seasons, has made just 21 big league appearances in the last four seasons due to a pair of shoulder operations and the foot injury. He tore his left Achilles tendon last June 6 while pitching in extended spring training with the Baltimore Orioles. Santana was struck by a line drive and stumbled while in pursuit of the ball.

Santana, who turns 36 in March, hopes to sign with a big league organization. He won the Cy Youngs for Minnesota in 2004 and 2006.

He has not pitched in the major leagues since 2012 with the New York Mets. Santana signed a $137.5 million, six-year contract with New York before the 2008 season and had surgery Sept. 14, 2010, to repair tears in the front and bottom of his left shoulder's anterior capsule.

He returned to the major leagues on April 5, 2012, and pitched the first no-hitter in Mets history that June 1 against St. Louis, throwing a career-high 134 pitches. He then went 3-7 with an 8.27 ERA and cut his season short because of lower back inflammation.

Santana experienced weakness in his pitching shoulder during the following spring training and had surgery on April 2, 2013, for a tear in the capsule in the front of his left shoulder.

New York Sports