Red Sox, Crawford to meet Monday regarding Tommy John surgery

Red Sox, Crawford to meet Monday regarding Tommy John surgery
August 20, 2012, 12:39 am
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NEW YORK -- The Red Sox will use an off-day in the schedule Monday to convene a meeting with Carl Crawford that will likely determine whether the outfielder will undergo season-ending Tommy John surgery.

Crawford has been saying for week that he will eventually have to undergo surgery to repair a sprained ulnar collateral ligament. The elbow injury forced him to miss the entire first half of the season.

On Saturday, the Boston Globe reported that Crawford would go to the team this week to seek permission to undergo the procedure. Crawford has not made himself available for comment since that report.

"We'll circle up tomorrow," said Cherington. "We'll talk to him again and look at all the available information again and try work with him to figure out the right path for us. He's played a lot and it's a real injury, so I'm sure he's feeling it.

"It's a question of symptoms and whether or not he can continue to play at a high level if we treat it conservatively. So far, that's been our focus, our effort and that's what he wanted to do."

As he said Saturday, Cherington said the Sox won't allow the team's spot in the playoff race or the standings to dictate what they do.

"I think we have to focus mostly on what Carl needs and what's right for him," Cherington said. "This is a real injury he's playing with so we've got to take it seriously. So that's got to take precedent. I think he's certainly been playing and playing through an injury because the team is trying to win games and try to stay in this thing.

"But when it comes to decision, we've got to focus on what's best for Carl."

The Sox are trying to balance the value of having him available for the final six weeks or getting the procedure done now so that he can return sooner next season. The expected recovery time for a position player is anywhere from seven to nine months.

"I don't know that there's a clear answer to that," said Cherington. "I think that's why we need to focus the decision on what's best for Carl, listen to him and look at all the available information and figure out if this is something that needs to be fixed surgically or whether he can continue to play on it the way he has been."

Since mid-season, Cherington has at times refuted Crawford's belief that surgery is inevitable, citing other position players with sprained UCLs who avoided the procedure and strengthened the ligament through other methods.

But Sunday, it sounded as though Cherington is resigned to that fact.

"We were always hopeful we could avoid surgery," he said. "Now we're further ahead (in the process). We are where we are today. I think we have enough information that we can get together with him (Monday) and try to make it a decision for the rest of the year."

Cherington added that he didn't "expect he'll need another (medical) opinion. I expect all the voices have been heard. We know what the issue is. It's just a matter of listening to him and getting (the medical) staff's input."