Tim Byrdak is determined to return from what seemed like a career “death sentence” last summer.

After tearing his left shoulder’s anterior capsule — the same injury that sidelined Mets teammates Johan Santana and Chris Young extensively — the 39-year-old Byrdak thought he might be finished pitching.

“It was real emotional at the time I was diagnosed,” the lefty reliever said yesterday at the Mets’ spring training complex.

But Byrdak soon learned his injury wasn’t as bad as he initially feared. Team doctors discovered the tear was less extensive than Santana’s and Young’s, but Byrdak still underwent September surgery.

Byrdak, who went 2-2 with a 4.40 ERA in 56 appearances last season, is now targeting a July return to the Mets for whom he signed a minor-league contract during the offseason. He has begun long tossing and hopes to be throwing from a mound by the time spring training concludes.

“We’re progressing fairly quick,” Byrdak said. “If I had to set a goal [to return] it would be July 1. If we get any time in June it would be icing on the cake.”

* Santana reported to camp yesterday afternoon, after team workouts, but did not speak to reporters. The left-hander, who was shut down last August, is scheduled to have his first spring training throwing session tomorrow. Team physicals will be held today.Team physicals will be held today.