Wakefield Cleared To Pitch, But Report Doesn't Add Up

Jeffrey BrownAnalyst IAugust 19, 2009

ATLANTA - JUNE 27:  Starting pitcher Tim Wakefield #49 of the Boston Red Sox against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field on June 27, 2009 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

During tonight’s broadcast from Toronto, NESN reporter Heidi Whatney reported that Sox knuckleballer Tim Wakefield has been cleared to pitch and that he is scheduled to make an appearance for the Pawtucket Red Sox on Friday evening in their series finale against the Rochester Red Wings.

She reported that Wakefield consulted with doctors today. He reportedly was advised the calf pain he's been experiencing is due to a disc fragment that broke away and caused irritation in the nerve that runs into the calf… he was told the situation would NOT get worse if he played.

She also reported he was told he could remedy the problem with off-season surgery, though the veteran right-hander indicated he hopes to avoid surgery.

With all due respect to Heidi, in my mind her report doesn’t add up.

I suffered two herniated discs in my back almost ten years ago.  As a result of the herniations, one of the nerves in my spine became frayed. I've lived with chronic and (sometimes) serious pain in my left foot since then.

I was told the nerve would never repair itself and could not be repaired by surgery. I was also informed the situation wouldn't worsen because there was no fragmentation of the disc.  I was told surgery was NOT necessary since there was nothing floating around which could cause further damage to the nerve.

If Wakefield has suffered damage BECAUSE of a floating fragment, and if they have recommended he undergo surgery to remove the fragment, then it makes absolutely no sense that he would have been told the situation could not get worse.  A floating fragment COULD further damage the nerve… which means the pain could increase and further impede his ability to pitch.

This report makes me VERY uneasy.  Stay tuned for more, as I suspect we haven't heard the end of this.