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Green no longer with Boston after surgery

Nick Green went to Boston to have his back surgery, but by the time he did he was no longer a Red Sox.

The veteran infielder from Duluth elected to become a free agent after being taken off Boston's 40-man roster and assigned outright to Class AAA Pawtucket.

Green, 31, could still return to the Red Sox, but that will likely depend on how successful and quick his recovery and rehab is from Monday's surgery.

"We want see what the health is like," Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein told the Boston Globe when asked about Green.

After being Boston's regular shortstop for much of last season, Green is hopeful of landing a major league contract someplace as at least a utility player rather than have to go to spring training as a non-roster invitee again.

That was what Green was this year with the Red Sox. But he ended up as a feel-good story, making the opening day roster and playing in 103 games. He would have been eligible for salary arbitration if Boston had kept him on the 40-man roster.

Green was the team's regular shortstop until the Red Sox obtained Alex Gonzalez from Cincinnati in August. Gonzalez is also a free agent, his option being declined by Boston.

Green missed the final two weeks of the regular season and Boston's American League Division Series against the Los Angeles Angels because of a back issue that affected a leg.

Surgery was performed at Massachusetts General Hospital to relieve pressure on a nerve by shaving a disk.

Green made his major league debut with the Braves in 2004. He has also played with Tampa Bay, the New York Yankees and Seattle in addition to the Red Sox.