Santana’s Career May Be Over, and the Phillies Season Is About to Get That Much Easier

Baseball’s loss is the Phillies’ gain. Johan Santana, once a pitcher of world historical importance, a graceful southpaw on the fast track to Cooperstown, may never never pitch again. Deadspin reports that the New York Met, who signed a 6-year, $137 million deal in 2008, has a shoulder so badly busted, his chances to return to the sport, much less to the Mets, are slim to none.

Here’s a shocking fact: medical science is nearly helpless when it comes to Santana’s specific injury [a capsule tear]. It seems odd, in a sporting landscape where a frayed ligament can be replaced by a tendon from the leg or from a dead person and we expect that player to come back stronger, but the shoulder capsule is a strange beast…The capsule is a mass of tissue that nearly completely surrounds the ball-and-socket joint of the shoulder. Rather than containing defined ligaments, there are thickenings of the tissue that serve the same purpose. When these tear, the ball can slip out of the socket on each pitch, causing pain and weakness. The human body was truly not designed to throw a baseball overhand.

Without 2012 Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey, or Santana–whose no-hitter last season may just have caused the injury–the Mets are even less the threat they were before. And the Phillies, ahem, veteran pitching staff looks that much fresher in comparison. Still, if this really is the end, let’s have a moment of silence for Santana, a respected pitcher even in the unfriendly confines of Citizens Bank Park.* [Deadspin]

*Disclaimer: My affection for Santana is by no way informed by his 2004 breakout season, which single-handedly won me my fantasy baseball league.