Nationals second baseman Jose Vidro said on Monday night that his right knee is feeling much better and he still hopes to avoid offseason surgery.
Vidro's knee problems resurfaced after he came off the disabled list in July. Vidro, who missed two months of the season because of an ankle injury, never spent a day on the disabled list because of the knee, but he was limited to 184 at-bats after the All-Star break and 19 at-bats in September.
Before the season ended, Dr. Tim Kremchek, the team's senior consultant, recommended surgery on Vidro's knee, which was surgically repaired in September 2004. But Dr. James Andrews told Vidro to rest the knee for a week and then start a special exercise program for three weeks.
Vidro took Andrews' advice and is now in his third week of exercises. Vidro said the swelling in the knee has gone down significantly. Every day he is on the ultra sound machine, has light knee massages just to get the blood flowing, rides an exercise bicycle and then does light weight training.
On Sunday, Vidro will go to Melbourne, Fla., to see Dr. Bruce Thomas, the Nationals' primary care sports medicine physician, to see how the knee is coming along.
"I really feel that I need more time for the treatments and then make my decision [on whether or not I have surgery]," Vidro said. "The knee is significantly better because I'm able to [make a] turn very easy now. I don't know if it has to do with the off time and the treatments. It's probably a combination of both. The doctor has noticed that the size of the knee is going down. That's a good sign."
Vidro hasn't been injury-free since 2002, when he hit .315 with 19 home runs and 96 RBIs for the Expos. Since the second half of the 2003 season, Vidro had had problems with his right knee.
"I have to get this thing out of my head," Vidro said. "If I'm healthy to play every day, my numbers will be there, my power will be there. If I get 600 at-bats, I can get the numbers that my team needs. It's all going to come down with the job that I do in the offseason. It's something that I understand, and it's something that I'm taking very seriously."
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.