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Martinez Seeks Opinion That Leaves Out Surgery

Ramon Martinez, who has suffered further damage to his injured throwing shoulder, did not accompany the team to San Diego.

The right-hander remained in Los Angeles to seek a second opinion today from Lewis Yocum, the Angels’ team physician, about the increased right rotator cuff tear and cartilage tear that were revealed Monday during an MRI exam by Frank Jobe, the Dodger team physician.

He will also travel to Birmingham, Ala., later today to receive a third opinion from sports-injury specialist James Andrews. Martinez, who is hoping to avoid season-ending surgery, is scheduled to be examined by Andrews on Thursday and expected to join the team in Colorado this weekend.

“This is a very important time for Ramon, and he just wants to make sure he’s explored all his options,” pitching coach Glenn Gregson said. “The focus right now is on Ramon making his start [when the Dodgers return home], but that depends on what information he comes back with.”

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Martinez hopes that Yocum or Andrews will provide a plan other than surgery, which was among the options Jobe presented after his examination. Martinez declined to have surgery when his initial rotator cuff tear was revealed last season, and he missed 10 starts while undergoing a rehabilitation program to strengthen his shoulder.

He will resume the program under the supervision of Pat Screnar, team physical therapist.

“Ramon said he doesn’t want to have surgery, he wants to rest and try to make another start, and we’re going to support whatever decision Ramon makes,” said Fred Claire, executive vice president.

“I told Ramon that if he wanted to take a month off, or any amount of time, that was fine, because he’s the only one who knows how he’s feeling. You have to leave these things up to the player.”

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Martinez is making $4.3 million this season. The club holds a $5.6-million option for next season, which can be bought out for $600,000.

The Dodgers are hopeful Martinez will continue to pitch this season, but they are also realistic.

“You’re talking about the veteran ace of our pitching staff,” Gregson said. “And you do see a pattern [of shoulder problems] here.”

ON DECK

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DODGERS’

ISMAEL VALDES

(5-7, 4.67 ERA)

vs.

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PADRES’

STERLING HITCHCOCK

(3-1, 3.90 ERA)

Qualcomm Stadium, 7:30 p.m.

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TV--ESPN. Radio--AM 1150, KWKW (1330).

* Update--Valdes was outstanding in his most recent start Wednesday, pitching a 1-0 shutout over the Oakland Athletics at Dodger Stadium, his first complete game since Sept. 23, 1995. “Sometimes everything just works for you,” said Valdes, who made 77 starts between complete games.


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