Sports

Dice-K to Have Tommy John Surgery

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Daisuke Matsuzaka (Charles Krupa/AP Photo)

Daisuke Matsuzaka (Charles Krupa/AP Photo)

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By HOWARD ULMAN AP Sports Writer

BOSTON (AP) _ Red Sox pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka will undergo
season-ending reconstructive surgery on his right elbow, probably
next week.

Boston manager Terry Francona made the expected announcement
after the Red Sox beat the Oakland Athletics 8-6 on Friday night.
The team transferred the right-hander from the 15-day to the 60-day
disabled list.

The Red Sox have also lost lefty reliever Rich Hill, likely for
the season. Both pitchers have ligament tears in their pitching
elbows. Hill is likely to also have Tommy John surgery, as is
planned for Matsuzaka.

The operation usually sidelines a pitcher for at least 12
months. Boston placed Hill on the 15-day disabled list and called
up lefty Tommy Hottovy from Triple-A Pawtucket.

Matsuzaka signed a six-year, $52 million contract with the Red
Sox in December 2006 after his brilliant career in Japan. Boston
also had to pay $51.1 million to the Seibu Lions for the right to
negotiate with Matsuzaka, who is signed through next season.

The investment has produced disappointing returns.

Matsuzaka’s best season came in 2007, when he was 18-3 with a
2.90 ERA and finished fourth in voting for the AL Cy Young Award.

But after going 31-15 with a 3.72 ERA in his first two seasons,
Matsuzaka was 16-15 with a 5.03 ERA the past three years when he
had four stints on the disabled list. In eight appearances this
year, including seven starts, he is 3-3 with a 5.30 ERA. In his
career with Boston, he is 49-30 with a 4.25 ERA.

He did have two of his best outings in his career in consecutive
starts, allowing one hit in seven scoreless innings on April 18
against Toronto and one hit in eight scoreless innings on April 23
at the Angels. But in four appearances since then, he allowed 12
earned runs and 16 hits in 15 1-3 innings.

Francona said team officials met at length with Matsuzaka on
Thursday. After the game, he said renowned orthopedist Dr. Lewis
Yocum, who met with Matsuzaka this week, will perform the surgery.
Yocum is the medical director of the Los Angeles Angels.

“If (Matsuzaka) is prepared to go that (surgical) route, we
support that,” Francona said before the game. “You never run and
have the surgery right away. A lot of guys pitch when they’re not
feeling right. That’s why you get second opinions.”

Before Friday’s game, Matsuzaka played soft toss in the
outfield.

“I think he’s going to take this upon himself and kind of
attack the rehab when it comes,” Francona said.

Hill, 31, plans to get a second opinion on his injury next week.
He had become a key contributor for Boston after starting the
season in Pawtucket.

He pitched eight scoreless innings over nine games since being
recalled. On Monday night he faced just one batter, walking Adam
Dunn on seven pitches. After the last pitch, Hill grabbed the area
near his left arm and left the game.

“It was really (hurt) on that pitch,” he said. “You could
feel the ball coming off my fingers and it was just numb. At first,
I was just optimistic, thinking that it was just scar tissue that
had broken up.”

But, he said, an MRI showed the ligament “was like
three-quarters torn.”

Asked if team physician Dr. Thomas Gill had recommended surgery,
Hill said, “With the ligament torn three-quarters of the way and
to be able to pitch again at this level it’s going to have to be
something that’s highly recommended.”

Francona said surgery is “probably inevitable.”

Hottovy, 29, is in the majors for the first time after being
drafted by Boston in the fourth round in 2004. He entered Friday’s
game with two outs and a runner on second in the sixth inning and
got David DeJesus, the only batter he faced, to ground out.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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