The former New York Mets ace will have surgery Tuesday to repair the re-torn anterior capsule in his pitching shoulder, the team announced Saturday. The operation will be performed by Mets medical director Dr. David Altchek.
Santana is likely to miss the entire season for the second time in three years, which means he may have thrown his last pitch for the Mets. The two-time Cy Young Award winner is in the final year of a $137.5 million contract.
"It's very difficult. If anybody can do it, it would be Johan," Mets pitching coach Dan Warthen said. "We wish him luck and we feel sick about what's happened.
Santana had surgery on Sept. 14, 2010, and did not make it back to the major leagues until last April 5. The 34-year-old left-hander didn't pitch in any exhibition games this spring and threw his last bullpen session in early March without the team's permission.
Mets third baseman David Wright said he was not surprised by Santana's decision to have surgery.
"I've known Johan long enough to know that I don't think that he'd want to go out like that. He's going to probably work just as hard, if not—if it's possible—work harder, to come back from this. I wouldn't be surprised at all if I see him pitch again," Wright said after the Mets lost to Baltimore 7-1 in their exhibition finale.
Santana's comeback reached its apex last June 1 when he pitched the first no-hitter in Mets history, throwing a career-high 134 pitches that night in his second consecutive shutout. But he was 3-7 with an 8.27 ERA after that, including 0-5 with a 15.63 ERA after throwing eight scoreless innings against the Los Angeles Dodgers on June 30.
He went on the disabled list for three weeks because of a sprained ankle and didn't pitch after Aug. 17 because of lower back inflammation.
Warthen said Santana's injury isn't "a byproduct of the no-hitter."
New York owes Santana $31 million as part of the six-year deal he signed before the 2008 season, and general manager Sandy Alderson said the remainder of the contract is not covered by insurance.