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Red Sox notebook

Wakefield has back surgery

Pitcher will begin rehab immediately

By Amalie Benjamin and Peter Abraham
Globe Staff / October 22, 2009

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While there wasn’t much news on Tim Wakefield’s back surgery yesterday, a Red Sox spokesman did say in an e-mail that the procedure was “successful.’’ The surgery, which was to address a herniated disk, was performed yesterday morning at Massachusetts General Hospital by Dr. Lawrence Borges. Wakefield can begin rehab immediately, according to the Sox.

The knuckleballer had a fragmented disk in his back that limited him to just four starts after he made the All-Star team for the first time in his career. He had significant pain in the back, compounded by weakness in his legs. He had multiple cortisone shots, which did allow him to pitch those four times, but he could barely cover his position and hobbled around the clubhouse the second half of the season.

Wakefield said at the end of the season that the surgery should not affect his return to spring training. Although he is at the end of another one-year deal, the Sox have recurring one-year options, and they appear interested in bringing him back on another $4 million contract. They have five days after the end of the World Series to make that decision.

“Wake is someone that is in our plans,’’ general manager Theo Epstein said after the Sox lost to the Angels in the Division Series. “We hope he makes starts for us next year as well and is a member of the rotation. We haven’t sat down and finalized anything. We obviously want to wait and see how the surgery goes and then both sides will sit down and talk.’’

Wakefield, 43, went 11-5 with a 4.58 ERA this season. He has 175 wins with the Sox, as he closes in on the franchise record of 192, which is shared by Cy Young and Roger Clemens.

Chapman set to deal
Cuban lefthander Aroldis Chapman, whose fastball is said to hit 100 miles per hour, is ready to make a deal. The 21-year-old is in New York and is expected to meet with as many as six teams in the coming days, including the Red Sox.

Chapman’s agent, New York-based Edwin Mejia, said the pitcher plans to visit the cities of the teams he is interested in. Mejia has already met with the Yankees.

Chapman started two games in the World Baseball Classic in March, allowing four runs over 6 1/3 innings. But his eight strikeouts caught scouts’ eyes. He is expected to throw for interested teams in the Miami area later this month.

Chapman could command a contract similar to the $15 million deal top draft pick Stephen Strasburg received from the Nationals in August.

Hoyer moving on?
According to ESPN.com, Red Sox senior vice president and assistant general manager Jed Hoyer is close to being named Padres GM.

Hoyer, 35, has been with the Sox since 2002. He and Ben Cherington directed baseball operations during Epstein’s 10-week hiatus following the 2005 season. Hoyer has since interviewed with the Pirates and Nationals during their GM searches.

The Padres are seeking a replacement for Kevin Towers, who was fired this month. Towers is said to have a standing offer to join Epstein’s staff.

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