Atchison avoids surgery, eyes September return
While a visit to noted orthopedist Dr. James Andrews is often a precursor to surgery, Red Sox right-hander Scott Atchison was delighted to hear the opposite during his visit to Pensacola, Fla.
Though the 36-year-old Atchison, as the Red Sox previous said, does have a ligament injury, Andrews recommended that surgery isn’t necessary at this point.
So 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,” 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.
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,” Atchison said. “Obviously you hear tear and it automatically makes people think that. This is — 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. “There’s always risk. Any time you pick up that ball out there, even if you’re healthy, there’s always a risk. It’s not necessarily a natural thing to throw overhand that hard. You know, 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.”
Was Atchison expecting the worst when he visited Andrews? “Kind of. I don’t know. We had discussed things. I had already kind of discussed a few things with our staff here and everything and they said there would be an outside chance he would say you could rest and get through this. So I tried to take those thoughts with me. I didn’t present any of that [negative thought]. I kind of listened to him first and let him present his side of it and what his case was and that was kind of where he went with it. Once he kind of went with it from there, I was ready to jump on board. I feel like there’s been multiple guys who have pitched with ligament injuries and have done very well. I’m going to go with that in my mind and go with the feeling in my body that I feel alright and it’s calmed down a ton since it happened. I don’t feel it anymore doing things so hopefully the rest will be enough.”