Sunday, February 10, 2008


What happens when you mix three doctors, a 41 year old arm, and a baseball team?

You get contradictions, "baseball sources," second opinions, third opinions, contractual obligation discussions. In short, you get chaos.

The soap opera surrounding Curt Schilling's shoulder continues to unravel, with each piece of new information providing more questions than answers. The Red Sox are being tight-lipped about the whole thing, but the doctors involved are not.

The apparent situation is this:

Curt Schilling signed his deal for 2008, passed a physical, then reported shoulder pains. Dr. Craig Morgan, whose worked with Schilling for 13 years, examined him. Then Sox medical director Thomas Gill offered his opinion. Morgan and Gill contradicted each other. Morgan believed the only way that Curt could pitch would be surgery. Gill believed that surgery would mean Curt couldn't pitch at all. In order to help alleviate confusion, Mets medical director David Altcheck was brought in. Altcheck sided with Gill, believing that surgery would end the season for Schilling. But Altcheck also discovered a tear in Curt's rotator cuff.

So now, under the belief that surgery would end Schilling's season before it began, the Red Sox are taking a conservative approach. Schilling received a cortisone shot on Friday. Schilling will then rest and rehabilitate the shoulder. Dr. Morgan thinks this plan has no chance at succeeding. Dr. Gill and Dr. Altcheck think surgery would prevent Schilling from pitching.

And that's what happens when 41 year old pitchers who missed 7 weeks on the disabled list are given $8M to pitch.

The Red Sox tried to do a Clemens-esque type of deal: sign an aging pitcher knowing that he wouldn't be able to contribute for the entire season. This shoulder problem is an expected result of such a decisions.

But still, with no Curt Schilling, the Red Sox rotation becomes a series of question marks behind Beckett.

Johan Santana is only 28 years old and has a minimal injury history, just in case you were wondering.

Gordon Edes article