At last there is relief for Tim Wakefield. The knuckleballer, who spent the entire second half of the season limping because of a loose fragment in his lower back, underwent successful surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital on Wednesday.
Wakefield's herniated disc was repaired and the fragment removed, setting up the right-hander to have a productive offseason.
The 43-year-old Wakefield stated late in the season that he intends on playing at least one more year.
According to a Red Sox spokesperson, Wakefield can start his rehab immediately, and he should be fully recovered long before the start of Spring Training.
The Red Sox hold a $4 million option on Wakefield that they must exercise within five days after the World Series ends.
"Wake is someone that is in our plans, and we hope he makes starts for us next year and is a member of the rotation," general manager Theo Epstein said the day after the Red Sox were eliminated from the American League Division Series. "We haven't sat down and finalized anything. Obviously, we want to see how the surgery goes, and then both sides will sit down and talk."
Before the onset of his back injury, Wakefield had a solid first half, winning 11 games and making the All-Star team for the first time in his career.
He was only able to make four starts after the break.
Wakefield has 175 wins in a Red Sox uniform, 17 shy of tying Cy Young and Roger Clemens for the club record. Wakefield has 189 wins in the Majors.
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.