Matsuzaka opts to have season-ending surgery

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Matsuzaka opts to have season-ending surgery

By SeanMcAdam
CSNNE.com

It's possible Daisuke Matsuzaka has thrown his last pitch as a member of the Red Sox.

After some consultation, Matsuzaka has decided to have season-ending Tommy John surgery on his ailing right elbow and plans to soon tell the Red Sox that, an industry source confirmed late Wednesday night.

Nippon Sports, a Japanese news service, was the first to report Matsuzaka's decision.

Matsuzaka was placed on the disabled list on May 18 with discomfort in his elbow. The Red Sox medical staff determined that he had a sprain -- or slight tear -- in his ulnar collateral ligament and recommended a period of rest and rehabilitation to determine if the elbow could heal without surgery.

He returned to his native Japan last week, then sought a second opinion from noted orthopedist Dr. Lewis Youcum.

Like Red Sox medical director Dr. Tom Gill, Youcum saw a slight tear and told Matsuzaka that one option would be to put off surgery and see if some extended down time along with strengthening the muscles around the elbow could solve the problem. Youcum also acknowledged that Matsuzaka might ultimately require surgery if the prescribed rest and rehab failed to heal the elbow.

The Red Sox would like Matsuzaka to take a more conservative approach and see if he could salvage the season and may still try to convince Matsuzaka to take that path.

If Matsuzaka undergoes Tommy John surgery -- a procedure in which a tendon from another part of the body is transferred to to the elbow, tying the torn ulnar collateral ligament together -- he is certainly finished for the rest of 2011, and possibly, 2012, too, when his landmark six-year deal is done.

Typically, recovery time for Tommy John surgery is anywhere from 12 to 18 months. Matsuzaka's countryman, Junichi Tazawa, underwent the procedure in March of 2010 and only recently graduated from extended spring training and began a rehab assignment in the lower minor leagues.

If Matsuzaka undergoes the surgery later this month, a similar recovery time would place Matsuzaka's return at about mid-August, 2012, just six weeks before he would be eligible for free agency.

Matsuzaka is represented by agent Scott Boras, who also represents outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury. Last year, Ellsbury clashed with the Red Sox medical staff over the diagnosis of his broken ribs which caused him to miss all but 18 games of the 2010 season.

It's possible that the mistrust that stemmed from that conflict informed Matsuzaka's decision, and, at the very least, led him to get a second opinion.

As recently as Wednesday, the Red Sox were publicly hopeful that Matsuzaka could avoid the procedure.

"I think we have to figure out how to best go about this, said Francona Certainly, the player or pitcher has to have some opinion, too, but youre always going to, I think, go about it non-operatively first. That just seems like it makes sense to me.

"Well certainly meet with him in the next couple days. We want to sit down, put our heads together, see how he feels, let Dr. Gill have a talk with Dr. Yocum, and then try to plan out how we go about these next couple weeks.

On Tuesday, Francona had said that there had been no new developments after Matsuzaka saw Yocum.

"Diagnostically, everything is kind of the same,'' said Francona.

The Red Sox, of course, won a spirited bidding war by "posting'' a figure of 51 million in December of 2006, then agreeing to a six-year, 52 million deal with Matsuzaka, a national hero in his native Japan.

Matsuzaka won 33 games over his first two seasons with the Red Sox, but the last two-plus seasons have been marred by injuries and inconsistent performances.

Sean McAdam can be reached at smcadam@comcastsportsnet.com.Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam

Jones-Molina WBC spat is a clash of cultures . . . and that's great

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Jones-Molina WBC spat is a clash of cultures . . . and that's great

The Adam Jones-Yadier Molina verbal skirmish is as predictable as it is annoying.

Was every cultural nuance for the 16 World Baseball Classic teams explained in a booklet the players had to memorize before the tournament?

No? Then it’s amazing there weren’t more moments like this.

Jones, the Orioles outfielder, said Team USA's championship game win over Puerto Rico was motivated by Puerto Rico's choice to plan a post-tournament parade for the team before the final game.

As Jones and his teammates know, parades in pro sports are for championship teams. Red Sox fans are likely aware of this.

As Jones and his teammates know, discussing a parade before a title is secured suggests overconfidence. Rex Ryan fans are likely aware of this.

After an 8-0 win for the U.S., Jones revealed the parade was used as bulletin-board material.

"Before the game, we got a note that there was some championship shirts made -- we didn't make 'em -- and a flight [arranged],” Jones said. “That didn't sit well with us. And a parade -- it didn't sit well with us."

But apparently, Jones didn't know the full context of the parade. It was reportedly planned regardless of whether Puerto Rico won.

One Team USA teammate of Jones whom CSNNE spoke with didn't believe that, however.

"It was called a champions parade that got turned into a celebration parade once they lost," the player said. "I think they just don't like getting called out by Jones, but all Jones did was tell exactly what happened."

Jones’ comments weren’t received well.

Puerto Rico's going through a trying time, a recession, and the entire island rallied behind the team.

“Adam Jones . . . is talking about things he doesn't know about," Molina told ESPN’s Marly Rivera. "He really has to get informed because he shouldn't have said those comments, let alone in public and mocking the way [preparations] were made.”

No one should be upset Jones explained what he was thinking.

Jones actually asked MLB Network host Greg Amsinger, “Should I tell the truth?”

Yes. It’s better than lying.

Look at the reactions across the WBC: the bat flips, the raw emotion. Honesty conveyed via body language.

People in the U.S. are starting to accept and crave those reactions. The WBC helped promote a basic idea: let people be themselves.

Jones said what was on his mind. We can’t celebrate bat flips and then say Jones should keep his mouth shut.

But there's an unreasonable expectation being placed on Jones here.

He heard about a parade -- which is to say, a subject he wouldn't normally think twice about or investigate before a championship baseball game.

Plus, it gave him motivation.

Why is Jones, or anyone with Team USA, more responsible for gaining an advance understanding of Puerto Rico’s parade-planning conventions -- we're talking about parade planning! -- than Puerto Rico is responsible for keeping U.S. norms in mind when making and/or talking about those plans?

No one involved here was thinking about the other’s perception or expectation. It's impossible to always do so.

But that’s how these moments develop: what’s obvious to one party is outlandish to the other.

Now Molina, Puerto Rico's catcher, wants an apology.

"He has to apologize to the Puerto Rican people," Molina told ESPN. "Obviously, you wanted to win; he didn't know what this means to [our] people."

Jones can clear the air with an apology, but he doesn't owe one. And he definitely doesn't owe one after Molina took it a step further.

"I'm sending a message to [Jones], saying, 'Look at this, right now you're in spring training working out, and we're with our people, with our silver medals,' " Molina said. "You're in spring training and you're working . . . you have no idea how to celebrate your honors, you don't know what it means.”

Team USA had no parade. Manager Jim Leyland made clear how the U.S. was celebrating, by recognizing those serving the country.

The silver lining here is how much attention the WBC has drawn, and how much conversation it can drive. People care, a great sign for the sport -- and its potential to foster better understanding across cultures.

Internationally, the sport is on parade.

Wright extends scoreless streak to 9 1/3 innings in Red Sox' 10-7 win over Pirates

Wright extends scoreless streak to 9 1/3 innings in Red Sox' 10-7 win over Pirates

The angst surrounding the David Price- and (possibly) Drew Pomeranz-less Red Sox starting rotation may have eased a little -- or a lot -- on Thursday.

Steven Wright extended his string of scoreless spring-training innings to 9 1/3 by blanking the Pirates for 4 1/3 innings in his third spring-traing start, leading the Sox to a 10-7 victory over the Pirates at SkyBlue Park.

Red Sox-Pirates box score

Wright allowed two hits -- the only two hits he's allowed this spring -- with one walk and three strikeouts.

Several of his pitching brethren, notably Heath Hembree and Robbie Ross Jr., didn't fare nearly as well. (See box score above.) But the Sox -- using what may be their regular-season batting order for the first time -- bailed them out with a 16-hit attack, led by Dustin Pedroia (3-for-3, now hitting ,500 for the spring). Mookie Betts, Hanley Ramirez, Jackie Bradley Jr., and, yes, Pablo Sandoval each added two hits. Sandoval also drove in three runs and is now hitting .362.

Xander Bogaerts went 1-for-4 in his return to the Sox from the World Baseball Classic.