Matsuzaka opts to have season-ending surgery


Matsuzaka opts to have season-ending surgery

By SeanMcAdam

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 Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam

Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines, Ivan Rodriguez elected to Hall of Fame

Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines, Ivan Rodriguez elected to Hall of Fame

NEW YORK - Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines and Ivan Rodriguez were elected to baseball's Hall of Fame on Wednesday, earning the honor as Trevor Hoffman and Vladimir Guerrero fell just short.

Steroids-tainted stars Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens were passed over for the fifth straight year by the Baseball Writers' Association of America. But they received significantly more votes this time and could be in position to gain election in coming years.

Bagwell, on the ballot for the seventh time after falling 15 votes short last year, received 381 of 442 votes for 86.2 percent. Players needed 75 percent, which came to 332 votes this year.

In his 10th and final year of eligibility, Raines was on 380 ballots (86 percent). Rodriguez received 336 votes (76 percent) to join Johnny Bench in 1989 as the only catchers elected on the first ballot.

Hoffman was five votes shy and Guerrero 15 short.

Edgar Martinez was next at 58.6 percent, followed by Clemens at 54.1 percent, Bonds at 53.8 percent, Mike Mussina at 51.8 percent, Curt Schilling at 45 percent, Lee Smith at 34.2 percent and Manny Ramirez at 23.8 percent.

Players will be inducted July 30 during ceremonies at Cooperstown along with former Commissioner Bud Selig and retired Kansas City and Atlanta Braves executive John Schuerholz, both elected last month by a veterans committee.

Bagwell was a four-time All-Star who spent his entire career with Houston, finishing with a .297 batting average, 401 homers and 1,401 RBIs.

Raines, fifth in career stolen bases, was a seven-time All-Star and the 1986 NL batting champion. He spent 13 of 23 big league seasons with the Montreal Expos, who left Canada to become the Washington Nationals for the 2005 season, and joins Andre Dawson and Gary Carter as the only players to enter the Hall representing the Expos.

Raines hit .294 with a .385 on-base percentage, playing during a time when Rickey Henderson was the sport's dominant speedster.

Rodriguez, a 14-time All-Star who hit .296 with 311 homers and 1,332 RBIs, was never disciplined for PEDs but former Texas teammate Jose Canseco alleged in a 2005 book that he injected the catcher with steroids. Asked whether he was on the list of players who allegedly tested positive for steroids during baseball's 2003 survey, Rodriguez said in 2009: "Only God knows."

Bonds, a seven-time MVP who holds the season and career home run records, received 36.2 percent in his initial appearance, in 2013, and jumped from 44.3 percent last year. Clemens, a seven-time Cy Young Award winner, rose from 45.2 percent last year.

Bonds was indicted on charges he lied to a grand jury in 2003 when he denied using PEDs, but a jury failed to reach a verdict on three counts he made false statements and convicted him on one obstruction of justice count, finding he gave an evasive answer. The conviction was overturned appeal in 2015.

Clemens was acquitted on one count of obstruction of Congress, three counts of making false statements to Congress and two counts of perjury, all stemming from his denials of drug use.

A 12-time All-Star on the ballot for the first time, Ramirez was twice suspended for violating baseball's drug agreement. He helped the Boston Red Sox win World Series titles in 2004 and `07, the first for the franchise since 1918, and hit .312 with 555 home runs and 1,831 RBIs in 19 big league seasons.

Several notable players will join them in the competition for votes in upcoming years: Chipper Jones in 2018, Mariano Rivera and Roy Halladay in 2019, and Derek Jeter in 2020.

Sam Travis among nine non-roster invitees added to Red Sox spring training roster

Sam Travis among nine non-roster invitees added to Red Sox spring training roster

The Red Sox have invited nine non-roster players to spring training, the team announced Wednesday. The team now has a total of 15 non-roster invitees. 

Added Wednesday to the spring training roster were outfielder/infielder Allen Craig, third baseman Rafael Devers, first baseman Sam Travis, catcher Jordan Procyshen, outfielders Brian Bogusevic and Rusney Castillo, and right-handed pitchers Kyle Kendrick, Chandler Shepherd and Ben Taylor.

In addition to 39 players on the 40-man roster, the Sox have the following breakdown of non-roster invitees: 

Pitchers: Kyle Kendrick, Edgar Olmos, Chandler Shepherd, Ben Taylor, Marcus Walden
Catchers: Dan Butler, Jake DePew, Jordan Procyshen
Infielders: Rafael Devers, Matt Dominguez, Sam Travis
Outfielders: Brian Bogusevic, Rusney Castillo, Allen Craig, Junior Lake