Rijo facing another elbow surgery

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 12, 2003

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Jose Rijo, who overcame five elbow surgeries to resume his pitching career with the Cincinnati Reds in August 2001, is having another operation to remove bone spurs from his elbow.

Rijo, 37, reported pain after pitching Tuesday morning in a minor league game in the Reds' spring training camp. He quickly left for Birmingham, Ala., to have the surgery performed by Dr. James Andrews.

Rijo, a candidate for the No. 5 spot in the Reds' starting rotation, said he hoped to be back in action in two weeks and be ready for the regular season opener March 31. The Reds expected it would take four weeks.

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''It puts him out of the picture for opening day,'' said manager Bob Boone. ''But, hopefully, not out of the picture forever. He's the miracle man. It's another setback. He's used to it. It's a shame. He was throwing so well.''

Rijo said the problem was discovered in an X-ray examination two weeks ago, but he decided to try and pitch through it.

Rijo was chosen as most valuable player in the Reds' 1990 World Series sweep of Oakland. The right-hander had elbow surgery five times, beginning in August 1995, before returning to the Reds to pitch out of the bullpen six years later.