|Sources: No decision yet on Matsuzaka surgery||06.02.11 at 12:14 am ET|
According to multiple industry sources, a final decision has not yet been made by the Red Sox and pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka regarding the next course of treatment for what has been described as a sprained ulnar collateral (Tommy John) ligament and strained common flexor mass of his right elbow. Matsuzaka is scheduled to meet with Sox team officials on Thursday to discuss treatment options.
There have been reports that Matsuzaka has already decided to undergo Tommy John surgery — first from Nikkan Sports, and then from Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports (who declared via twitter that Matsuzaka was “leaning towards” surgery) and Gordon Edes of ESPN.com, who reported that the pitcher has made the decision to have surgery and will inform the club of that choice on Thursday. If Matsuzaka undergoes the operation, it would prevent him from pitching until at least 2012.
However, one source suggested that no decision has been made at this point about how the injury will be treated. Another source indicated that the decision will be made by Matsuzaka and his family after his meeting with the team to discuss treatment options.
Matsuzaka, 30, is 3-3 with a 5.30 ERA in eight games (seven starts) this year. He experienced tightness in his right elbow in a start against the Mariners on April 29, then after returning to the rotation, suffered a sharp drop in his velocity in a 4 1/3 inning outing against the Orioles on May 16 in which he walked seven. When he was placed on the DL on May 17, the Sox suggested that they were hopeful that Matsuzaka’s injury was manageable through rehab, and that they were relieved to have avoided a more significant injury.
However, Matsuzaka received a second opinion from Dr. Lew Yocum on Tuesday. In the aftermath of it, while no one ruled out the possibility of the right-hander undergoing surgery, Sox manager Terry Francona suggested that there were no immediate plans to operate on the pitcher.
“Diagnostically, everything is kind of the same,” Francona said of Matsuzaka’s consultation with Yocum. “We have to figure how to best go about this. The player or pitcher has to have some opinion, too. But I think you’re always going to go about it non-operatively, first. That just seems like it makes sense to me.”
Whether that is also the case for the pitcher remains to be seen, pending the meeting with the club on Thursday.
If Matsuzaka undergoes Tommy John surgery, it could mean that he is done pitching for the Red Sox. Pitchers typically require at least a year to return from the procedure, and often more before they are ready to return to major league competition. If Matsuzaka underwent surgery next week (which the Nikkan Sports article suggested as the likely course of action), a normal rehab course would have him unavailable to the Sox until at least next summer.
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