New York Mets left-hander Johan Santana likely will need a second—and possibly career-ending—surgery on his pitching shoulder.

Mets general manager Sandy Alderson told reporters Thursday evening that an MRI exam revealed a tear in the same area of Santana's shoulder that was repaired in September 2010. Santana is expected to decide within days whether to have another operation.

“We don’t know when it happened, how it happened,” Alderson said, according to the New York Daily News. “What we do know is that at some point, symptoms appeared, and they worsened, rather than improved. It’s possible Johan will be able to shed more light on that, but at this point we simply don’t know.”

Santana, 34, was already expected to begin the season on the disabled list. He has missed the entire exhibition season because of a lack of arm strength.

Santana didn't pitch in the major leagues in 2011 following shoulder surgery. He went 6-9 with a 4.85 ERA in 21 starts last season and pitched the first no-hitter in Mets history June 1.

His season ended in mid-August because of lower back inflammation, and he did only light tossing during the offseason, leaving him behind schedule when he reported to camp last month.