Giants' ace needs surgery on tendon tear

Updated: October 5, 2003, 1:46 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

MIAMI -- San Francisco Giants pitcher Jason Schmidt is expected to have surgery in the next few weeks to repair a tendon tear in his right elbow, The San Francisco Chronicle reported Sunday.

 Jason Schmidt
Schmidt

Schmidt told The Chronicle that there was an "extremely good possibility" he would have surgery to repair the tendon, an injury the team's medical staff considered severe enough to end Schmidt's season in August.

The updated report on the severity of Schmidt's elbow injury helps to clarify the controversial decision to start rookie Jerome Williams over Schmidt in Saturday's elimination game with the Marlins, the paper added.

It had been reported for much of the season that Schmidt's sore elbow was a result of tendinitis, the paper said. But head trainer Stan Conte told The Chronicle on Saturday that information was technically accurate but did not convey the extent of the injury, which was kept quiet for competitive reasons.

"Everyone thought his season was over in August based on the initial MRI that we took," Conte told the paper. "After discussions with a lot of doctors we decided there was no increased risk if he kept throwing."

Schmidt had that MRI taken in early August after sitting out a start for the second time since the All-Star break, but refused to miss the remainder of the season.

"I said, 'I'm pitching,' " Schmidt told the paper. "They said, 'Don't you understand what we're saying? You're done. We need to get this taken care of.' I said, 'If I've already been pitching with it, I can pitch with it the rest of the season.' "

Schmidt told the paper that one of the reasons for a decline in his strikeout numbers at the end of season was that the injury prevented him from throwing sliders and curveballs.

However, Schmidt said he could have pitched in Game 4 on Saturday and would have pitched in Game 5 of the Division Series with Florida on Sunday had the Giants extended the series, the paper reported.

Giants' manager Felipe Alou ignited debate prior to Saturday's game when he announced Williams would start in place of Schmidt, after consulting with pitching coach Dave Righetti and general manager Brian Sabean on Friday night, according to the paper.

The paper reported that Alou made the announcement during pregame interviews, saying, "Schmidty didn't feel he was ready. I mean, he needs another day. Tomorrow will be the day."

Schmidt told the paper he was angered by the explanation, saying it was "very wrong. I never once said I didn't want to pitch. I always want to pitch."

Schmidt told the paper he had not talked to Alou before the decision was made, but said Righetti informed him on Friday that Alou would pick a starter Saturday morning. But, Schmidt told the paper, Righetti informed him a short time later that Williams would start. "Physically, I could have pitched (Sunday)," Schmidt told The Chronicle.

"I said, 'If the case presents itself, and I have to pitch today, I will do that. It would probably be in everybody's best interest if I didn't, but if you want me to pitch today, I will.' "

According to the paper, that was not the response Alou was looking for from his ace when deciding whether to use him on short rest, especially since the staff had been giving Schmidt extra time off throughout September to protect his arm.

"We have a guy who has been pitching on one-week rest, 10 days' rest," Alou told the paper.

"To go with the guy on three days' rest is a big change that could lead to damage. This is not his day to pitch. I didn't feel he should pitch (Saturday)."

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