When Alex Anthopoulos acquired right-hander Sergio Santos last winter, he was excited about the possibility of adding a legitimate, shut-down closer to the Blue Jays bullpen. After all, Santos was coming off a season where he registered 30 saves and put up an astounding 13.1 strike-outs per nine innings pitched.
The fact that the converted shortstop would also be under club control for six seasons made it easier to stomach sending solid prospect Nestor Molina to the White Sox in return.
One piece of the puzzle had fallen into place.
Unfortunately for Anthopoulos, Santos would pitch in just six games for Toronto in 2012, registering just 2 saves while surrendering 5 runs in 5 innings pitched. A right shoulder injury, which Santos initially tried to rehab before having surgery in July, ended his season before it ever truly began.
Santos would be the first of many pitchers to fall like dominoes for the Blue Jays.
Official word out of Toronto is that Santos is now progressing well in his rehabilitation and that he could be ready to rejoin the team by the beginning of Spring Training in February.
At this stage, the rehab consists of strength and conditioning exercises, meant to expand his range of motion in the shoulder. The next hurdle will be having him ready to begin a throwing program with the rest of the Jays pitchers in December. If he can get himself through that, Santos will likely be game ready in the first few weeks of Spring Training.
Of course, none of that guarantees that Santos will return to his role as closer, at least immediately. Casey Janssen has done an admirable job in holding down the 9th inning role and will likely get first crack at retaining it when camp opens up. However, the Jays have a lot invested into Santos and would ultimately like to see him back in the role.
Regardless of the roles, the Blue Jays pen will see a significant upgrade at the back-end of games in 2013.
Tags: Toronto Blue Jays