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Wakefield To Undergo Surgery, Likely to Return for 2010

Tim Wakefield is set to undergo surgery Wednesday to fix the herniated disk in his back, a procedure which shouldn't stop him from coming back next season. Assuming all goes well, Theo seems happy to have him back.

"Wake is someone that is in our plans and we hope makes starts for us next year and is a member of the rotation," said Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein during his Monday press conference. "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."

Wake was, as usual, worth more than his $4 million option last year. So long as the Sox can keep getting the same level of production out of him, it makes sense to have him back. Given his age and fragility, though, expect the Sox to either have a backup for Wakefield, or to use the Knuckleballer in a back-up role himself.

The Sox will likely fill the 5th/6th starter position with another low risk, high reward candidate. While the strategy proved unsuccessful last year, with both Brad Penny and John Smoltz proving to be of little help, Theo Epstein recently stood by his decision, and suggested the team would try it again. Certainly, though, this year's crop of names is rather more impressive, with Erik Bedard, Justin Duchsherer, Rich Harden, and Ben Sheets highliting the list.