Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reports Santana expects to start throwing off a mound again sometime in January, but is keeping his options open in terms of when to sign a new contract:
Johan Santana expects to throw off mound this month. Could sign with team and complete rehab in camp or wait and showcase himself to clubs.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) January 9, 2014
Last March, as Santana was getting prepared for surgery, Adam Rubin of ESPN New York noted it took the left-hander 19 months before he was able to return to make his way back to the majors after his first shoulder injury:
New York Mets left-hander Johan Santana will proceed with surgery to repair a torn anterior capsule in his left shoulder for a second time in 31 months, ending his 2013 season before it began.
Team doctor David Altchek, who performed Santana's first anterior capsule surgery on Sept. 2, 2010, will again perform the surgery. Santana took 19 months to throw a major league pitch after the first shoulder surgery.
Can Santana still be an effective starter?
While there were questions at the time about whether Santana would be able to make another complete recovery, it was never a doubt to the former ace. In August, Andy Martino of the New York Daily News noted the pitcher told agent Chris Leible he "isn't going out like this."
So he got back on the rehab trail and has apparently continued to make steady progress toward getting ready for the 2014 campaign.
More recently, Martino reported around 12 teams have shown interest in Santana. He posted a lackluster 4.85 ERA in 21 starts in 2012, but sports a 3.20 lifetime mark and would serve as a solid rotation filler if he can prove he's healthy.
A clearer picture should emerge over the next month once he returns to the mound.