IVAN RODRIQUEZ seeks second opinion on knee

Wednesday, September 5th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) _ Ivan Rodriguez sought a second opinion on his left knee, an injury that most likely will end the season for the Texas Rangers' star catcher.

He went to California on Wednesday to meet with Dr. Lewis Yocum, the team doctor for the Anaheim Angels, to confer on his tendinitis.

The options are surgery to remove the bothersome bit of tendon, or rest and medication with hope the inflammation subsides.

``I'm not scared,'' Rodriguez said after meeting Tuesday night with Rangers orthopedist John Conway and general manager Doug Melvin. ``I take pretty good care of myself. We'll wait and see what the other doctor says. And then we'll go from there.''

Rodriguez hasn't played since he was scratched from the lineup before last Friday's game at Kansas City and sent back to Texas for more evaluations.

Rodriguez left an Aug. 22 game against the New York Yankees in the second inning when his right knee locked while squatting. Conway then did an MRI on both knees that initially showed no problems. Rodriguez took another night off but then caught 16 innings in an 18-inning win over Boston.

The lineup scratch Friday came after Conway became concerned about something he saw on the left knee from the earlier test. Another MRI revealed an inflammation of the tendon that connects the kneecap to the leg bone.

``This is serious. I'm going to have to do something about it,'' Rodriguez said. ``But this is just a temporary thing. I'm going to come back strong next year. I'll be 100 percent. You can count on that.''

Melvin said the final decision will be made by Rodriguez.

``It's about him, not about the Rangers or about a contract,'' Melvin said. ``He'll decide what is best for him, and then we'll decide what is best for us.''

Rodriguez could become a free agent after the 2002 season. Agent Jeff Moorad repeatedly has approached the Rangers about a five-year contract extension worth about dlrs 20 million a season.

Melvin and Rangers owner Tom Hicks have put off talks on an extension, wanting to wait until a new labor agreement is settled between players and owners during the offseason. They also are concerned about Rodriguez's long-term health.

``We still want to sit down and talk,'' Melvin said. ``But a lot more has to happen before we do that.''