PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- A tad miffed and mystified, Johan Santana said Sunday he was unaware of any detours, in place or pending, in his rehabilitation from surgery on his left shoulder, and he went so far as to say those responsible for the report had lied.
The Mets ace took exception with a dual byline report in The Record of North Jersey that stated the club was close to altering or suspending his throwing program due to a lack of progress. No Mets personnel were quoted by name in a report that included a passage in which the club's internal take on Santana's return was that it would be "lucky" to have the pitcher back and functional this season.
Santana's characterization of his rehab contradicted the report.
"There's nothing new," Santana said. "We're keeping track of everything. After I'm done working, I'm fine. It takes time. I know that. I still have to go slow, because whatever you want to do, regardless, your arm is going to tell you something else. That's why this process is very slow."
The report said his program would be interrupted if he didn't respond well to a specific day of throwing, But no particular day was mentioned. Santana was not slated to throw Sunday and is not scheduled to throw Monday. The days off were part of schedule established early in the week. His program now includes throwing 25 times from 60 feet twice a day as many as four days a week.
"How can anyone who isn't me know how I feel and say I'm behind?" Santana said. "How can I be behind if there's no timetable? All we know is that it takes a long time. And no one is sure how long or how I will react to the program. Other people have had this, and they're not me."
Santana underwent surgery late last summer to repair a torn anterior capsule. The newspaper noted that former Cubs pitcher Mark Prior and one-time Yankees pitcher Chien-Ming Wang had undergone the same procedure and not returned.
"But they're not me," Santana had said earlier in the week when discussing his circumstances. "If I never get back, I'll be surprised. But I have a long way to go."
Santana turned 32 Sunday. As he joked, he spoke about the end of his career -- only in the most generic terms, adding he wants to pitch as long as he can, but not discussing his retirement in terms of his rehabilitation.
He also said, "Whoever is saying that I'm not ready, I think, is lying. We are all on the same page here. And I've been doing my job and doing my rehab and everything the way it's supposed to be done. How can I have a setback at this point, where I'm just beginning to throw? I haven't even been on a mound. I haven't even forced my body to try to throw hard. I know there are going to be days I feel good. There are going to be days I don't feel as good. But that doesn't mean I'm done.
"I've had pain before. I know the difference between pain and soreness. As of now, you go through a process where you have to build everything up, and your arm, your shoulder, is weak. You know you have to overcome that. But it takes time."
Marty Noble is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.