"I'm hoping at some point probably in September, maybe be in a game and pitch and hopefully help this team down the stretch," Atchison said before Tuesday's game against Texas.
There seemed to be a near inevitability that Atchison would need surgery once Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine revealed last week that there was a tear in his UCL.
But the truth is, nearly every pitcher Atchison's age -- and with his amount of professional innings -- has some degree of tear in the elbow and shoulder.
"You never want to have surgery. I didn't want to rush into anything," said Atchison, who was one of Boston's best pitchers in the first half of the season, going 2-1 with a 1.76 ERA in 37 games. "Obviously you hear tear and it automatically makes people think that. Unfortunately, everybody probably has a little bit of something going on. You just don't ever know. It was good to hear and I feel like, at this point in my career, I can get through this."
If the conservative treatment of rehab doesn't work, Atchison understands that there's still a possibility he could need surgery.
"If I come back and I start throwing, and it all doesn't allow me to do it or there's too much pain, then we have to sit back down and re-assess everything," Atchison said. "Any time you pick up that ball out there, even if you're healthy, there's always a risk. It's nothing I'm worried about. I'm just going to go forward with it and keep a positive mindset and hopefully I can get back before the end of the year."
Nolan Ryan is one notable pitcher who played through a similar ligament injury later on in his Hall of Fame career.
"I had a very similar report when we got him from Houston [in December 1988] when I was with the Rangers," Valentine said. "They said a very similar thing, 'Hey it's torn, either get it cut on or throw 75 pitches a game or something.' And he went on to pitch a couple more no-hitters and strike out a whole bunch of people, so who knows."