Tazawa to have Tommy John

April, 1, 2010
4/01/10
10:36
AM ET
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Boston Red Sox minor league right-hander Junichi Tazawa will have Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery on Tuesday, ending his 2010 season before it begins, manager Terry Francona said Thursday.

The surgery will be performed by orthopedist James Andrews in Birmingham, Ala. Recovery time is typically nine months to a year.

Tazawa, a 23-year-old Japanese industrial league find who made four starts for the Red Sox last season and projected to be in Pawtucket's starting rotation, has a sprained ulnar collateral ligament in his throwing elbow.

On Tuesday morning, Tazawa had told reporters the tightness he'd experienced in camp this spring was something he had pitched with in the past in Japan, but the Red Sox decided to have it checked by Andrews. Tazawa had given up five home runs in seven innings this spring.

"There were times in camp here that he felt normal and there were other times where because of lack of command or action to his pitches he felt like something wasn't quite right either in the game or the amount of recovery time he would need," Red Sox pitching coach John Farrell said earlier this week. "And we mapped out his workload to give him ample time to recover, although it got to a point where we needed to take a further look and get an in-depth evaluation."

Francona also offered these tidbits Thursday morning:

* Right-handed reliever Scott Atchison was told Thursday morning that he has made the club, cinching one of the final two spots in the bullpen.

* Left-handed reliever Alan Embree was told he needs more time. The Red Sox would like him to stay here, pitch Saturday, then pitch for affiliates. He has an April 15 opt-out date in his conrtract. Francona said Embree was told to take a day to talk it over with family and friends, but made it clear the Red Sox would like him to stay.

* Right-handed reliever Joe Nelson was told he was going north to Washington, D.C., with the club, is "deep in the mix,'' but has no guarantees of a job. The Red Sox will look at Scott Schoeneweis again Thursday, but he would appear to be a long shot. The Red Sox play an exhibition game against the Nationals on Saturday.

* Left fielder Jacoby Ellsbury is not playing in a game for a third straight day, but Francona insists it's just to let him rest his arm, sore after a day of working on cutoffs and relays in camp a few days ago. Ellsbury is scheduled to take batting practice Thursday.

* First baseman Kevin Youkilis will not play Thursday after fouling a pitch off his right knee the day before, but Francona said it's just a bruise.

* Pitcher Fernando Cabrera was reassigned to minor-league camp.

* Reserve outfielder Jeremy Hermida (hamstring) will go to minor-league camp Friday to get multiple at-bats, then will head north with the club.

Gordon Edes

Red Sox reporter, ESPNBoston.com

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