Red Sox closer Tom Gordon has been told he needs surgery on his right elbow, a procedure that would probably force him to miss at least all of next season, according to his agent.
Anaheim Angels team physician Dr. Lewis Yocum examined Gordon on Wednesday and told him he needs ligament replacement surgery on a ligament in his right elbow, Jeff Boras, Gordon's agent, told the Boston Herald. The procedure, now commonplace, was used to save pitcher Tommy John's career in 1974.
Gordon missed a large part of this season because of the elbow.
The Red Sox had said Gordon, bothered by elbow discomfort since spring training, had a slight ligament tear in his elbow, and that rest and a relatively simple procedure to remove calcium deposits from the elbow would be the only offseason work he needed.
Gordon was on the disabled list twice this season, once in April and again in mid-June. After the second injury, Gordon sought a second opinion from Dr. James Andrews of Birmingham, Ala.
Gordon, who turns 32 later this month, underwent rehabilitation in August at the team's Fort Myers, Fla., complex, and was back with the team by mid-September. He pitched four innings in the postseason with a 9.00 ERA.
Last July, several players, including shortstop Nomar Garciaparra, complained about the quality of Red Sox medical care.
Red Sox physician Dr. Arthur Pappas defended his handling of Gordon's injury. Pappas said Gordon was a full participant in the decision to try rest and treatment, with season-ending surgery on the ligament in his throwing elbow as a last resort.
Boras also said that Red Sox starter Bret Saberhagen had a procedure done on his right rotator cuff in New York last Tuesday, and that a tear in the front of the cuff was repaired.
Boras said Saberhagen would be able to begin throwing by spring training.
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