For Tim Wakefield, It Could Be Saturday or Surgery

For Tim Wakefield, It Could Be Saturday or Surgery The mini saga regarding Tim Wakefield's return to the mound could end this week. Whether or not it's a happy ending will be determined by Thursday's side session.

Wakefield has pitched once in the past eight weeks. The 43-year-old
was placed on the disabled list with a strained lower back just after
the All-Star break and made a courageous return to the bump on Aug. 26
when he held the White Sox to one run on six hits. During that start,
Wake felt discomfort in his back as the game went on and 'couldn't even
stand up straight' the next morning.

Boston had the knuckler take
a cortisone shot earlier this week to alleviate the pain and as of
Wednesday, there is still pressure, weakness and pain in his back and
legs. Despite the discomfort, Wakefield believes he can still pitch.

"It's time to push the envelope," Wakefield told projo.com. "We're running out of time."

If
the side session doesn't go well Thursday, Wakefield would be open to
surgically remove disk fragment. This procedure would keep him
sidelined for roughly four weeks meaning he would make it back in time
for the postseason, should the Red Sox make it that far.

"We're
48 hours out [from the shot] so it's as good as it's going to get,"
Wakefield said. "We'll test it out and go from there."

If all goes well Thursday, Terry Francona may send his grizzled vet to the hill Saturday to take on the White Sox in Chicago.

"This
is a hard one for us. He could potentially probably be pitching pretty
soon and he could potentially probably not," said Francona. "We're
trying to make the right decision. It's hard because we know he can go
out and get outs. We'll just continue to keep an eye on him. I think
[the shot] really helped, yeah."

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