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Sore shoulder sends Johan Santana’s rehab backwardRemain calm! All is well!

That's what Johan Santana(notes) insisted in mid-March, despite rumblings that the New York Mets were ready to shut down his rehab. Everything was going according to schedule. Following shoulder surgery in September, that schedule projected Santana to be ready to rejoin the Mets' starting rotation by late June or early July.

But much like Kevin Bacon was trampled by a stampede of panicked parade goers when he tried to ease fears at the end of "Animal House," so has Santana's rehab schedule apparently been flattened.

Mets general manager Sandy Alderson told reporters on Monday that Santana was feeling soreness in his left shoulder after increasing the intensity of his workouts and had stopped throwing from a mound 10 days ago. (That left some New York media to wonder why it took Alderson that long to say anything.) But since that rest, Santana is now long-tossing on flat ground and is expected to begin throwing from the mound again this week.

So where exactly is Santana's rehab schedule now? The shoulder soreness appears to have put the process in a time machine:

"We are now trying to get him to the point at which he would be beginning his spring training. The thought process now is [that] we need to get him to the point where he would have been on the 14th of February. From that point he will proceed with his spring training, which could last as long as spring training typically does."

This would be great if the Mets were training in Port St. Lucie right now. But they lost in Pittsburgh on Monday, June 13, with 96 games left on their major league season schedule.

And though the Mets are probably out of the NL East race, in fourth place with a 32-34 record, they still have a chance to put together a pretty nice season. Considering most of the team's headlines have centered around a billion-dollar lawsuit, Fred Wilpon looking for someone to buy a minority share of the franchise and ripping several of his players in print, that wouldn't be an insignifcant achievement.

Santana's health (even if he wasn't at full strength) could be a major factor in the team's fortunes. Or maybe not, if you listen to Alderson.

"The nice thing is, as we speak today, our starting rotation is doing nicely," Alderson said. "In that sense the pressure to get him back earlier doesn't exist. Tomorrow, that could change completely. But, I think the other thing is, we're looking at Johan long term here, not short term. So he's got to be right."

Well, Dillon Gee(notes) is 7-0. Remain calm. All is well. Take all the time you need, Johan.

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