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Pendleton sidelined by torn knee cartilage

March 7, 1997

PLANT CITY, Fla. (AP) _ Terry Pendleton has suffered a setback in his bid to make the Cincinnati Reds’ roster as a backup third baseman.

Pendleton, 36, has missed every spring training game because of a sore right knee, and a magnetic resonance imaging test revealed a partial tear in the cartilage of his right knee.

The MRI also detected scarring on the anterior cruciate ligament.

No surgery is anticipated for now. Doctors have recommended exercises instead.

``If he completes the hamstring strengthening rehabilitation program we’re putting him on to our satisfaction, my (estimate) is he can be back out there in seven to 10 days,″ Dr. C. Barry Craythorne said.

Pendleton hurt the knee during infield practice before the first spring game Feb. 28.

``I had to backhand the ball and when I twisted my knee to throw to first, my knee gave out a little bit,″ he said. ``The soreness was subsiding when I went out there (Tuesday), and I was just playing catch when it gave out again. That one hurt pretty good.″

Pendleton is coming off one of his least-productive seasons. He batted .238 with 11 homers and 75 RBIs in 153 games with Florida and Atlanta.

The Reds signed Pendleton for $350,000 plus playing bonuses, hoping he could back up Willie Greene at third base. They won’t have much time to make a decision about his readiness.

``There’s no question that this is a concern,″ general manager Jim Bowden said. ``We’re only going to have two weeks to evaluate him and hopefully that will be enough.″

Manager Ray Knight doesn’t want Pendleton on the roster if there’s any question about his fitness or sharpness.

``I hate to take a guy north who is playing into shape,″ Knight said. ``I’d rather see him stay back (in Florida) and get ready.″

The Reds could accomplish that by putting Pendleton on the disabled list. Pendleton would like to think he can still prove himself in time to make the roster.

``I’ve told the trainers that whatever it takes, I’m ready to do it,″ he said. ``I need to do whatever is needed to make sure this doesn’t pop up again in July or August, when the team might need me in the middle of a pennant race.

``If I can get healthy in a week, I’ll be fine.″

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