After receiving a second opinion from Dr. James Andrews on his elbow, Atchison will attempt a comeback this season. During Monday’s meeting, Dr. Andrews recommended the Red Sox reliever rest for a few weeks longer and restart his throwing.
“I was kind of hoping that’s what he was going to say when I went down there,” Atchison said. “He felt like it was a tear that had been there for a while and I may have just caused a little inflammation or irritated it a bit, so we just need to get it to calm down. That requires some rest. Right now, we’re devising a plan to attack.”
The Red Sox haven’t mapped out a schedule for Atchison just yet. But manager Bobby Valentine estimated that Atchison would lay low in the short term and resume throwing in September.
Before heading down to Pensacola, Fla. — for the appointment with Andrews — Atchison was bracing for the worst news. Had the 36-year-old been at an earlier stage in his career, he likely would’ve taken an alternative route.
“I could’ve said surgery, but I’m at a little different position in my career,” Atchison said. “Once he said it’s something that he felt I may have already had and he thought I could handle it, I was on board with it. That was my hope going in and it reaffirmed that and I feel that I’m going to be fine.”
Despite the bullpen’s success without Atchison, Valentine was excited about the news of getting one of his best relievers back. It benefits Valentine, considering the skipper already knows how to manage that situation.
“I had a very similar report on Nolan Ryan when we got him from Houston and I was with the Rangers a 100 years ago,” Valentine said. “They said very similar thing: ‘Hey, it’s torn and you either get it cut on or throw 75 pitches a game or something.’
“He went on to pitch a couple of more no-hitters, strike out a bunch of people, so who knows?”
Atchison acknowledged there’s still the risk of surgery if it doesn’t pan out. But at 36, the reliever will attempt to stave it off.