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Wakefield in a Week? Pitcher Hopes for Speedy Return

08.30.09 at 3:46 pm ET

Pitcher Tim Wakefield appeared to be walking much more freely through the Red Sox clubhouse on Sunday than had been the case one day earlier, when he was hunched over while limping through Fenway Park. The 43-year-old confirmed that he was feeling better, and that with a cortisone injection in his lower back scheduled for Monday, he is hopeful that he might be able to return to the rotation within ‘€œa week or so’€ if he responds well.

Wakefield was both puzzled and disappointed by the recurrence of a back problem that had wiped out the first five weeks of his second half. He found it particularly frustrating given his hope that, after allowing one run in seven excellent innings on Wednesday, he seemed primed to stabilize the Sox rotation down the stretch. Now, he is hopeful that an injection can return him to that point.

‘€œIt stinks, because in two rehab starts, I felt fine. I don’€™t think there was anything I did during the game that would provoke this injury to come back or the feeling that I had to come back,’€ said Wakefield. ‘€œThere is a fragmented piece that’€™s floating in there, it’€™s like a bone spur basically that’€™s irritating the nerve. It’€™s just a matter of getting it to the right position where it’€™s not going to bother me and hopefully the cortisone shot will do that.’€

As things currently stand, Wakefield anticipates that he will require offseason surgery to remove the bone fragment. That could change if the symptoms disappear, but in all likelihood, he will undergo what the pitcher believes and hopes will be a relatively minor procedure this winter.

‘€œI think surgery is inevitable in this situation,’€ he said. ‘€œI think it’€™s a situation where they’€™re just going to have to go in there and pull that spur out or that piece out. I think that in itself will relieve a lot of the symptoms and it’€™s not a huge deal where I’€™m going to be on the shelf rehabbing for two months. It’€™s more of a two-week type of thing. Let the wound of the surgery heal up and then be ready to go.’€

Read More: back, rotation, Tim Wakefield,
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