At long last, the seemingly interminable rehab of New York Mets lefty Johan Santana may be approaching its conclusion. On Thursday, Santana will begin his minor league rehab assignment by starting for A-ball St. Lucie.
Not long ago, Santana experienced something of a setback. Soon thereafter he got back on a mound and threw a few bullpens and simulated games without incident. The Mets are proceeding cautiously, but a minor league rehab assignment is the next step, and the last step between where Santana is now and a return to the majors.
If everything goes according to plan, Santana could re-join the Mets near the end of August. Everything may not go according to plan, as everything seldom does, but there exists that possibility, and if not August, then September. It seems probable that the Mets will see at least something out of Santana before the end of the year, which should help them plan for 2012. Santana's still under contract through 2013 so he's not going anywhere, but if the Mets think they can actually count on him to pitch effectively with the injury behind him, then that'll provide a big lift.