Brewers' Santana near another rehab stint

Outfielder limited to 40 games, hopeful to return before season's end

Brewers' Santana near another rehab stint

PHOENIX -- Two weeks after his rehab assignment was canceled because of renewed pain in his right forearm, Brewers right fielder Domingo Santana is about to get a do-over.

The Brewers hope to send Santana back out to a Minor League affiliate as soon as next week, and Santana expressed confidence on Saturday that he'll be able to return to active duty before the end of the season. Another setback would probably require surgery.

"We got all the answers we could get, medically. He knows where it's at," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "We've got to push it to the next place. … This really the last shot to find out if he feels good playing with it."

Santana has spent most of the past 2 1/2 months on the disabled list, first with a shoulder injury and more recently the elbow. The ailments have spoiled what was supposed to be his first full season as a Major League starter.

"We were doing a couple of exercises that were really bothering it," Santana said. "We got together and talked and eased down on the exercises to see if it doesn't get as tight. It's been a lot better and a lot looser, so we're going to try it again.

"Overall, I just want to come out here and try to make myself an everyday player and help the team win. That hasn't happened this year, but who knows."

Santana, who turned 24 on Friday, opened the season as Milwaukee's leadoff hitter. He has posted a .234/.347/.391 slash line in 40 games and 150 plate appearances.

This week in Phoenix, Santana has reconnected with one of his best friends. Outfielder Rymer Liriano's bid for a spot on the Brewers' roster ended March 20 when he was hit in the face by a pitch in a Cactus League game. Liriano has recovered from facial surgery, but is still experiencing occasional post-concussion symptoms.

There is some good news, however. Liriano has recently resumed swinging the bat.

"It's been frustrating for the both of us because we didn't expect this to happen," Santana said. "But you've just got to go through it."

Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.