BALTIMORE — Two-time American League Cy Young Award winner Johan Santana saw his 2014 comeback attempt cruelly come to an end on Friday when the left-hander suffered a torn left Achilles tendon in Sarasota.
The 35-year-old was making his final extended spring training start and had been scheduled to join one of the Orioles’ minor-league affiliates before potentially being activated later this month. Santana was struck by a line drive on the backside and suffered the tear while stumbling, needing assistance as he walked off the field.
“Unfortunately, [with] the rehab, we didn’t get a chance to see it through to completion,” executive vice president of basball operations Dan Duquette said. “Unfortunate injury and incident for the team and for Johan. We wish Johan the best, but they’ll be some challenges in this recovery.”
Santana was signed during spring training as he attempted to make a comeback from two shoulder surgeries and had seen his velocity climb to the high 80s, making him a viable option in the eyes of the organization. Duquette confirmed the extent of the injury on Friday evening, stating that the Orioles would continue looking for starting pitching help after right-hander Miguel Gonzalez was placed on the 15-day disabled list with an oblique strain earlier in the day.
Manager Buck Showalter acknowledged the possibility of using a six-man rotation when Santana was scheduled to be ready later this month and has since seen both Gonzalez and the former Minnesota Twins and New York Mets pitcher go down with injuries.
The Orioles will recall right-handed pitcher Kevin Gausman to take Gonzalez’s place in the rotation on Saturday and will now lean more heavily on the 2012 first-round pick to be a difference-maker in the aftermath of the disappointing news about Santana.