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McPherson May Put Off Surgery

Times Staff Writer

Third baseman Dallas McPherson, on the disabled list since July 8, will need surgery to shave down a bone spur in his left hip; the only question is when.

Doctors at the Steadman-Hawkins Clinic in Vail, Colo., recommended McPherson have surgery immediately, so as not to risk further damage to the hip by playing. If done now, the procedure, which takes roughly three months to recover from, would knock McPherson out for the rest of the season but ensure a full recovery for 2006.

But McPherson is in the process of seeking a second opinion from a doctor he hopes will endorse postponing surgery until after the season, even if that means McPherson would be limited to designated hitter for the rest of 2005.

“If there’s a way I can help this team, I will do it,” said McPherson, who has been limited to 61 games because of lower-back, groin and hip injuries. “Dr. [Richard] Steadman said I could play now, but I’d risk more damage. There’s bone-on-bone friction in the joint. I want to see what a second doctor says.”

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Though McPherson’s visit to Colorado did not yield encouraging news, it did bring peace of mind -- not until Wednesday did McPherson learn he had a bone spur in his hip, a condition doctors believe may have contributed to the herniated disk in his lower back in March and to a groin injury in June.

“As much as this stinks, it’s a relief to know it’s a structural problem, something I can’t control,” said McPherson, who is batting .244 with eight home runs and 26 runs batted in. “It comes from years of rotating and pounding. I played basketball and football growing up, and the doctor said this probably started in high school.”

McPherson hit home runs in three consecutive games at triple-A Salt Lake last week, fueling hopes for a comeback, “but every time I played third base, I was real sore the next day,” McPherson said. “My hip locked up, and I couldn’t run like I wanted to.”

How fast can McPherson run? “To fans, it wouldn’t seem like a huge difference, but I can tell,” McPherson said. “I think I could leg out a double, but I probably couldn’t go from first to third on a single.”

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Even if McPherson puts off surgery, there might not be a DH spot for him if left fielder Garret Anderson is relegated to that role because of back and knee injuries.

“I have to make the best decision for my health and the future,” McPherson said. “You can’t imagine how frustrating this season has been. I know it happens to a lot of players, but I feel like I let the team down.”

*

Francisco Rodriguez didn’t exactly go the Pedro Martinez route and blow off the Angels’ team picture Thursday afternoon. The Angel closer was in full uniform, in the tunnel leading to the dugout, a few minutes after the team assembled in center field for the 4 p.m. shoot.

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But when he saw he would be late, he chose to retreat to the clubhouse and avoid the picture rather than face certain razzing from teammates.

“I’ll probably get ... chewed out, but I didn’t want to go out there when they were all ready to take the picture,” Rodriguez said. “What are you gonna do?”

Manager Mike Scioscia said Rodriguez would be fined -- probably a few hundred dollars, going to a charity -- but did not seem too upset with his closer.

“Sometimes guys miss things -- that’s a first time for him,” Scioscia said. “He made all the other pictures.”

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