FORT MYERS, Fla. — Red Sox minor league pitcher Junichi Tazawa will undergo Tommy John surgery Tuesday with Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, Ala. Manager Terry Francona made the announcement on Thursday.
Tazawa visited Andrews earlier this week and was weighing whether surgery or rehab would fix what was diagnosed as a sprain in the ulnar collateral ligament of his right elbow.
"There were a lot of things to sift through," Francona said.
The 23-year-old Tazawa had surrendered five home runs and eight runs overall in just seven innings this spring. In his final outing last week, he gave up three home runs in just one frame.
Tazawa, who was signed as an international free agent out of the Japanese amateur ranks, went 9-5 with a 2.57 ERA in 18 starts at Double-A Portland last season before making two starts at Triple-A Pawtucket and then appearing in six games for the Red Sox.
While with Boston, he went 2-3 with a 7.46 ERA. The highlight of his season came on Aug. 22 against the Yankees at Fenway Park, when he went six innings, giving up eight hits and two walks but keeping the Yankees off the scoreboard. Five days later, however, he served up nine runs over four innings to the White Sox, nearly doubling his ERA in the process.
His major league debut was also memorable, as he entered in relief in the 14th inning of a scoreless game at Yankee Stadium. After recording five outs, he was unable to get the sixth, as Alex Rodriguez sent one into the early-morning sky to give the Yankees a 2-0 victory.
The procedure usually requires a year of recovery time for pitchers.