Pitcher Tim Wakefield took his first step toward taking the rubber in 2010 by undergoing back surgery on Wednesday morning at Massachusetts General Hospital.
Although the Red Sox have not released an official statement, the Boston Globe is reporting that the surgery, which was to address a herniated disc in his back, went successfully and that he can begin rehabbing immediately.
The veteran knuckleballer was limited to just four games following the All-Star break and finished the season with an 11-5 record to go with a 4.58 ERA. A Red Sox staple since 1995, Wakefield has posted 174 wins in a Boston uniform.
"Wake is someone that is in our plans," general manager Theo Epstein told the Globe after the Red Sox lost to the Angels in the ALDS. "We hope he makes starts for us next year as well and is a member of the rotation. We haven?t sat down and finalized anything. We obviously want to wait and see how the surgery goes and then both sides will sit down and talk."
If healthy, the 43-year-old is expected to return as the team's fifth starter in 2010 with Josh Beckett, Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz and Daisuke Matsuzaka.