Wilson opts for surgery to remove bone spurs

Angels left-hander expected to be healthy for Spring Training

Wilson opts for surgery to remove bone spurs

KANSAS CITY -- Angels left-hander C.J. Wilson has made a final decision to undergo season-ending surgery to remove bone spurs from his pitching elbow, manager Mike Scioscia announced prior to Thursday's series opener against the Royals.

Wilson is expected to be fully healthy by Spring Training of next year, though there is at least a decent chance he won't be with the Angels by then.

The 34-year-old Wilson had basically decided to undergo surgery by Aug. 1, while revealing that bone spurs in his left elbow had restricted his range of motion to the point where he no longer felt he could be an effective starting pitcher. Wilson held out a small glimmer of hope while awaiting a second opinion by Dr. Neal ElAttrache in Los Angeles this past Tuesday, but nonetheless opted for a procedure he's had twice before, most recently at the end of the 2012 season.

"I think everyone feels that this is the best course of action for him," Scioscia said of the surgery, which is expected to take place within the next few days.

Wilson -- away from the team as it navigates through a seven-game road trip -- said he now has eight bone spurs, spread through all four quadrants of his elbow, and he has had to get fluid drained on four separate occasions. Wilson has been managing elbow issues all year, and he no longer feels he can.

"There's no gray area," Wilson, with a 3.89 ERA in 132 innings, said on Aug. 1. "You just run out of gas and then the tank's empty, and in this case, there's just no more elbow left to expire. The elbow is totally ground down at this point. I just have to get it cleaned out, rehab, and I'll be fine again."

Question is: Will he ever pitch for the Angels again?

The Angels dangled Wilson in pursuit of offense before the non-waiver Trade Deadline in July and will probably look to trade him over the offseason, with seven other starting pitchers -- Jered Weaver, Garrett Richards, Hector Santiago, Matt Shoemaker, Andrew Heaney, Nick Tropeano and Tyler Skaggs -- in line for next year's rotation. Unloading the $20 million remaining on Wilson's contract for 2016 would give the Angels the financial flexibility to boost an offense that could have up to five holes to fill -- catcher, third base, second base, left field and designated hitter.

Wilson, who signed a five-year, $77.5 million contract in December 2011, can block trades to eight teams.

Wilson previously said the Angels floated the possibility of delaying his surgery until the offseason to potentially help in some capacity in September, perhaps out of the bullpen. But he called it "a Hail Mary," and Scioscia said that was never really up to the coaching staff.

"This has been his decision, and the medical staff's decision, the whole way," Scioscia said. "It was nothing that we pushed on him or talked to him about."

Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.