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Carson Smith to undergo season-ending shoulder surgery and doctors won't know extent of damage until they operate

John Tomase
June 12, 2018 - 6:36 pm

Red Sox trainer Brad Pearson sounds as incredulous as the rest of us: yup, Carson Smith actually ended his season by throwing his glove.

Speaking to reporters in Baltimore on Tuesday (including's Rob Bradford), Pearson shed some light on Smith's upcoming shoulder surgery, which the team announced earlier in the day, and which will sideline him for the rest of the year.

"There's firsts for everything," Pearson said. "It's not something I would've typically seen, but he threw (his glove) pretty hard, and it's possible we found out that's another way you can hurt your shoulder."

The surgery has the potential to be major.

"Carson had a subluxation of his right shoulder," Pearson said. "Anytime you have subluxation, which is what we found when we did our physical exam and the MRI, you're going to want to evaluate the structures in the shoulder. We found some suspicion to the labrum and the capsule, anterior and stability issue. So what's going to happen is they're going to go in and look at all of the structures and fix all the things that they feel necessary in order to add stability back to that shoulder so that he can handle the rigors of pitching and throwing."

Smith was injured after allowing a home run to Oakland's Khris Davis on May 14. He was OK until he returned to his dugout and hurled his glove in frustration, injuring his shoulder in the process.

"We wanted to do our due diligence and make sure we had a pretty clear understanding of what damage had been done to his shoulder," Pearson said. "Taking a pitcher out of the season and doing a shoulder surgery is not something anybody wants to do lightly. I think everybody pretty much had consensus that there was suspicions of anterior instability, and any time you're looking at a situation like that, the rehab outcomes are not quite as tolerated as you would hope for. So after a lot of deliberations and discussions and most importantly talking to Carson and what his desires were, I think surgery seemed like the right option. That was the consensus of all the doctors."

What remains to be seen is what they'll find once they open him up. There's the possibility of labrum, rotator cuff, and capsule damage.

"Some structures are very easily visualized on MRI," Pearson said. "Other ones are a little more difficult to see. And that's where you're really not going to know until you go in there and do the surgical procedure."