Feliciano not heading for surgery yet

Yankees reliever Pedro Feliciano will begin a six-week

Yankees reliever Pedro Feliciano will begin a six-week shoulder strengthening program with the hope that he can avoid surgery. Photo Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara

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Surgery, at least for now, is off the table for Pedro Feliciano.

Instead, at the recommendation of noted orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews, the Yankees reliever will begin a six-week shoulder strengthening program, the team said Monday. He is expected to remain with the club during his rehab.

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Feliciano, who was placed on the 60-day disabled list with a strained left rotator cuff, told reporters last week that he was leaning toward season-ending arthroscopic surgery after an MRI revealed a capsule tear in his shoulder. But Andrews' conservative treatment program offers the 34-year-old pitcher hope -- albeit small -- that he could pitch again this season.

Earlier this month, general manager Brian Cashman created a firestorm when he called out the Mets for abusing Feliciano, who set a Major-league record with 266 appearances over the past three seasons for the Yankees' crosstown rival. Nevertheless, that didn't stop Cashman from signing the lefty to a two-year, $8-million deal in the offseason.

Last week, Cashman called Feliciano's injury "serious" and said "in all likelihood, he's looking at a significant surgery."

"It's like a Chien-Ming Wang-like issue," Cashman said, referring to his former pitcher who has yet to pitch since having shoulder surgery in 2009. "And he is still trying to come back with Washington. Some people can come back, but the odds are a lot more difficult."

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