Atchison opts out of surgery, eyes return

BOSTON -- Red Sox pitcher Scott Atchison received some positive news on Tuesday that he will not need Tommy John surgery on his ailing right elbow, and he hopes to pitch again this season after a few more weeks of rest and rehab.

“I feel confident it’s a good decision,” Atchison said. “I’m hoping to get back on the mound.”

Dr. James Andrews examined Atchison on Monday in Florida and was told the tear has been there for a while. He’s been able to pitch with it until recently. The doctor told him rest and rehab should do the trick.

“He felt like if I were 21 he would go ahead and do the surgery,” Atchison said. “He told me in my situation, I could get through it. It’s what I was hoping for and it reaffirmed something I was already hoping, so I have plenty of confidence going in with this decision.”

Atchison, 36, is 2-1 with a 1.76 ERA in 37 games (46 innings) for the Red Sox this season. He’s been on the disabled list since July 17.

“I want to try to pitch at some point before the year is over,” Atchison said. “We’re trying to set up the whole plan of what we’re going to do. The hope is to pitch at some point this year and help the team. I’ll get more rest on it during the offseason and it’s something I can pitch with for the rest of my career. We haven’t completely ruled out surgery, but it’s something guys have done before.”

* Red Sox third baseman Will Middlebrooks was given Tuesday off. It’s the second time during this homestand the rookie has not started. “We’re counting on him playing a lot of games here, so with the day game (Wednesday) and the travel day, thought this would be a good little breather. Other guys will get theirs, I hope.” Middlebrooks missed seven games just before the All-Star break with a hamstring injury.

* Josh Beckett will start on Wednesday against the Rangers and will not be limited. “He’ll only be limited if his back hurts,” Valentine said. “His arm is fine. I don’t think he’ll be limited.”

* Valentine has not yet announced his starting rotation for the upcoming series at Cleveland, but he did say Felix Doubront would pitch in that series. Aaron Cook will start in the following series against the Orioles.

* Reliever Vicente Padilla (groin/biceps/triceps) is feeling better and is available to pitch tonight if needed, according to Valentine. “I’m going to try to not use him, but I will if I have to,” the manager said.

* Reliever Rich Hill (elbow) will start his minor league rehab assignment on Wednesday in Florida. The left-hander will throw a live BP session.

* Outfielder Daniel Nava (wrist) will begin to take BP on Wednesday. He received a cortisone shot on Monday.

* Pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka will start again for Triple-A Pawtucket on Friday.