Crawford has what the team termed a "chronic" ulnar collateral tear in his left elbow. Dr. James Andrews will perform the procedure on Thursday. Crawford is expected to be out up to nine months.
Crawford, Boston's left fielder, first suffered the injury during spring training when he was rehabbing from offseason wrist surgery, which was performed last January. He missed the first half of the season and was finally activated on July 16. He finished the season with a .282 average with 10 doubles, two triples, three home runs and 19 RBIs in only 31 games.
In only his second season in Boston since he signed a seven-year deal worth $142 million as a free agent prior to the 2011 season, Crawford admitted numerous times this summer that surgery was inevitable, but he attempted to play through the pain until the symptoms began to worsen.
"We were trying to manage it conservatively and his symptoms increased over the last few days," general manager Ben Cherington said. "We talked more late last weekend and over the weekend, but Carl wanted to get through the weekend and play in the Yankee series and we agreed to circle up again (Monday) and we decided to get it taken care of."
"It became clear over the last few days that surgery was going to happen, it was just a question of when," Cherington added. "We felt, after talking with Carl, it was the right thing to do to get it taken care of now. To Carl's credit, he had played through the injury and played pretty well, but since it wasn't getting better and symptoms were getting worse, we decided it wasn't fair to keep asking him to go out there, so we decided to take care of it now and he agreed with that."
The recovery time for position players after having Tommy John surgery is shorter than for pitchers, who generally miss at least 12 months, but each case is different.
"It is shorter than a pitcher," Cherington said. "It can be up to nine months, but players have come back sooner than that in a couple of cases."
After discussing the matter with Crawford, his agent and the organization's medical staff, Cherington said that Rick Jameyson, the club's head athletic trainer, ultimately made the recommendation for Crawford to have the surgery this week. The club also consulted with Andrews on several occasions, including a recent discussion.