The Boston Red Sox sent out a statement to the media yesterday saying “Curt Schilling was examined by Red Sox doctors in January after he reported feeling right shoulder discomfort. Curt has started a program of rest, rehabilitation and shoulder strengthening in an attempt to return to pitching."
The Boston Herald published a statement by his doctor, Craig Morgan:
“It's my opinion if he has my proposed surgery he would have a shot at being fully rehabbed by the All-Star break, which was fully explained to all," Morgan said. "The Red Sox [team stats] disagree with that completely. They are of the opinion if he has surgery he is done for the season. The problem is if they take the conservative approach, it's my opinion it will be 6-8 weeks before it can be determined if it is successful, and by that time you will have blown the opportunity to have surgery and still pitch this season.”
The doctor then mentions that he examined the hurler three times in 2007 and had only to give him Toradol injections to help with the pain in his pitching shoulder. Cortisone shots were also given to Schilling.
Where it got more difficult is that both parties (Red Sox and Schilling) don’t agree on how it should be treated, but after seeking a third opinion from a list of doctors submitted by the club, he will now follow the Red Sox’s instructions.
The pitcher and his representative even consulted Michael Weiner, general counsel for the Players' Association, and he said the Red Sox currently have no basis to take any action against the pitcher.
Certain articles of the current Collective Bargaining Agreement (read it here) dictate the course of actions in these matters:
First, the player has the right to seek a second opinion (Article XIII-D):
“…the Clubs shall provide an updated, accepted listing of medical specialists, by specialty and by geographic region, to whom Players may upon their request go for diagnosis and a second medical evaluation of an employment related illness or injury being treated by the Club physician. At least two physicians shall be designated for each specialty in each region. Further, the Association and the Clubs shall promptly agree on appropriate procedures by which this listing of medical specialists shall be updated annually. A Player may seek a “second evaluation” from a medical specialist on the accepted listing who is located outside of the geographic region within which the Player’s Club is located, provided that the Player is not absent from the Club for an unreasonable period of time. If a Player uses the services of a medical specialist who is on the accepted listing, then the Club shall pay the cost of the “second evaluation,” including transportation and hotel costs. Expenses for “second evaluations” by medical specialists who are not on the accepted listing shall be authorized and paid only by prior mutual agreement between the Player and the Club.
Second, the Red Sox have the right to disclose the information about the injury with three conditions:
“For public relations purposes, a Club may disclose general information about (a) the nature of a Player’s employment-related injury, (b) the prognosis and the anticipated length of recovery from the injury, and (c) the treatment and surgical procedures undertaken or anticipated in regard to the injury.
It remains to be seen whether the Red Sox were right in preventing Schilling from having a shoulder surgery that would at least have saved half of his season and given the team a good chance of using Schilling for approximately fifteen starts in 2008.
Dave Rouleau is a staff writer for the Business of Sports Network, where he covers baseball and hockey on The Biz of Baseball and The Biz of Hockey. He also can be found on Baseball Digest Daily, Inside the Dome (Scout.com), and Seamheads.com. His contact info can be found on the Authors Profiles.