Andrews tells Atchison he doesn't need surgery

Andrews tells Atchison he doesn't need surgery

Andrews tells Atchison he doesn't need surgery
BOSTON -- While a visit to noted orthopedist Dr. James Andrews is often a precursor to surgery, right-hander Scott Atchison was delighted to hear the opposite during his visit to Pensacola, Fla., on Monday.

Though Atchison, 36, does have a ligament injury in his right elbow, Andrews recommended that surgery isn't necessary at this point.

Instead, Atchison will spend the next couple of weeks rehabbing his elbow with the hope he can help the Red Sox down the stretch.

"I'm hoping at some point probably in September, maybe be in a game and pitch and hopefully help this team down the stretch," Atchison said before Tuesday's game against Texas.

There seemed to be a near inevitability that Atchison would need surgery once Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine revealed last week that there was a tear in his UCL.

But the truth is, nearly every pitcher Atchison's age -- and with his amount of professional innings -- has some degree of tear in the elbow and shoulder.

"You never want to have surgery. I didn't want to rush into anything," said Atchison, who was one of Boston's best pitchers in the first half of the season, going 2-1 with a 1.76 ERA in 37 games. "Obviously you hear tear and it automatically makes people think that. Unfortunately, everybody probably has a little bit of something going on. You just don't ever know. It was good to hear and I feel like, at this point in my career, I can get through this."

If the conservative treatment of rehab doesn't work, Atchison understands that there's still a possibility he could need surgery.

"If I come back and I start throwing, and it all doesn't allow me to do it or there's too much pain, then we have to sit back down and re-assess everything," Atchison said. "Any time you pick up that ball out there, even if you're healthy, there's always a risk. It's nothing I'm worried about. I'm just going to go forward with it and keep a positive mindset and hopefully I can get back before the end of the year."

Nolan Ryan is one notable pitcher who played through a similar ligament injury later on in his Hall of Fame career.

"I had a very similar report when we got him from Houston [in December 1988] when I was with the Rangers," Valentine said. "They said a very similar thing, 'Hey it's torn, either get it cut on or throw 75 pitches a game or something.' And he went on to pitch a couple more no-hitters and strike out a whole bunch of people, so who knows."