Kyle Kendrick's relief will not be confirmed until a Thursday visit to New York for a second opinion on his ailing right shoulder, but the Phillies pitcher spoke with a smile Wednesday.
"It put my mind at ease," Kendrick said.
An MRI examination revealed rotator cuff tendinitis and some slight fraying, although Kendrick said doctors told him the images showed favorable wear and tear for a pitcher his age. If Kendrick is pleased with Mets team physician David Altchek's opinion, his plan is to play catch Friday with hopes of making his final two starts.
The viability of that remains to be seen. Interim manager Ryne Sandberg said he had not engaged Kendrick in a full conversation. He confirmed the instructions to play catch, but could not say whether Kendrick would start again.
"We'll leave it at that right now," Sandberg said.
There are benefits to shutting down Kendrick for 2013. He said the soreness in his shoulder will cure with rest. It is something he can pitch through, and did so for five weeks, but his performance was affected.
Kendrick said he did not want to make excuses. He pointed to a career-high 182 innings as a potential cause. He served as a starting pitcher for a full season for the first time since 2010. That, too, could have caused the injury.
"To get rid of it, you need to not throw and rest," he said. "But to know what it is and know I can still pitch with it, I might as well make the last two starts. Try to get a couple of wins."
Kendrick's next scheduled start is Tuesday in Miami. That would put him in line to pitch the season finale Sept. 29 at Atlanta.
He has a 6.91 ERA since the all-star break after a 3.68 mark fostered more hope of becoming a mid-rotation mainstay. Kendrick is eligible for arbitration this winter. A poor second-half performance likely cost him money.
"It's obviously frustrating," Kendrick said. "You want to pitch well every time you're out there. My second half is not what I've wanted, what the organization wanted, nor what the fans wanted. But it's a game and the guys I'm facing are trying to do well also. The main thing is my health right now, knowing where it's at. And that's good. Hopefully I can get those two more starts and finish strong."
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