Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 8/21/12

A long season has saddled Johan Santana with back pain, ankle discomfort and other maladies that he considers normal wear-and-tear for a starting pitcher. But examine them in the context of Santana's road back from left shoulder surgery, not to mention his importance to the team, and it becomes obvious why the New York Mets are considering shutting him down for the season.

Even so, that plan will not come into effect just yet. The Mets said prior to Monday's 3-1 loss to the Rockies that Santana should make his next start as scheduled on Thursday, with the team revisiting the idea of shutting him down at a later date. But that depends on the results of an MRI on Santana's lower back, which he will receive Tuesday.

"At some point, there's a diminishing return," general manager Sandy Alderson said. "It's been a long year, a long offseason of rehab. Johan actually has accomplished quite a bit over the course of this season and, at the appropriate time, we really have to think as much about next year as we do about this year."

The catch is that even if healthy, Santana will be on a strict pitch count for Thursday's start, prohibiting him from throwing 100 pitches as the Mets try to squeeze another few starts out of their former ace. Once rosters expand on Sept. 1, it will be much easier for them to replace Santana in the rotation, so Alderson indicated that Santana will make "another start or two, minimum."

But Santana has been experiencing back pain recently, which could prevent him from pitching, at all.

"It's going to be start to start," manager Terry Collins said. "We're going to take a look and certainly analyze where we are, what we're doing, what we're getting out of it, what he's getting out of it and make a continued decision as we go."

Santana opened the season on fire, going 3-2 with a 2.38 ERA over his first 11 starts and throwing a 134-pitch no-hitter June 1 against the Cardinals. But since that game, he has gone 3-7 with an 8.27 ERA, spending time on the disabled list with a sprained right ankle and going 0-and-5 with a 15.63 ERA upon his return. This is his first season back from anterior capsule surgery on his left shoulder, which he underwent in Sept. 2010.

The two-time Cy Young award winner has one guaranteed year and at least $31 million remaining on his contract, giving the Mets incentive to keep him as healthy as possible heading into 2013.

Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Cam Newton won’t be ‘lured in’ by talk of undefeated season

Report: Miami job is Mark Richt’s 'if he wants it'

WATCH: Cowboys’ security guard being investigated for choking Panthers fan

Mariners ‘trying hard’ to trade Mark Trumbo before Wednesday’s tender deadline

Bill Belichick: Patriots always looking to improve win or lose

NFL: Refs did not blow calls on Ravens' blocked FG return


Roethlisberger: I’ll play through any injury but a brain injury

LeBron James feels ‘kind of sad’ about Kobe Bryant retiring

Singer Marc Anthony creates agency, signs Aroldis Chapman

Jimbo Fisher: I’m not leaving Florida State

76ers raise ticket prices for Kobe's final appearance

Ricky Jean Francois says Redskins can ‘win it all’

Report: Jim Hackett’s tenure as Michigan’s interim AD is ending

Josh Norman pretends to be a movie character each game

Ex-Giants OL Chris Snee 'wanted to see the Jets lose all the time'

Kyle Long gives Bears tickets to trash collector who found wallet

Last of a dying breed: Kobe's retirement marks end of an era

Are the Houston Rockets looking to trade Ty Lawson?

Anonymous agent: Lakers have 'no plan and no leadership'

LeBron on never facing Kobe in Finals: 'I didn't hold up my end'

Jerry Jones expects Tony Romo to start another five years

Devon Still announces that daughter is cancer-free

Ranking college football conference title games

Green rips ‘coward’ reporter for calling Warriors cocky

Lindsey Vonn on Tiger Woods: ‘I loved him and I still love him’

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

QUIZ: Name every NCAA football national champion since 1950

Browns lose to Ravens as only the Browns know how

NCAA figures out how to invite 5-7 teams to bowls

Ranking top Heisman Trophy candidates

Have the New Orleans Saints given up?

This weekend in NFL stupid, ft. Rex Ryan

Missouri won’t accept a bowl bid at 5-7

Durant blasts media on behalf of Kobe

Josh McCown laments how he got job back from Manziel

Paul George: Kobe Bryant was my Michael Jordan

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker