MINNEAPOLIS -- Back at the team's downtown hotel after Monday's 3-2 victory over the Twins, Justin Duchscherer didn't look any more at ease with his immediate future than he did hours earlier in the visitors' clubhouse at the Metrodome.

Having pulled himself from the opener of a three-game series after 2 2/3 shutout innings with pain in his surgically repaired right hip, Duchscherer was heading upstairs to pack for his Tuesday flight back to the Bay Area when he was asked if he had a gut feeling about his impending prognosis.

"That's hard to answer," he said. "I'm still kind of dealing with the fact that this is an issue again. You think it's over and done with when you get surgery to fix something -- especially when everything felt so great for more than a year, from the time I got it fixed.

"But for now, I'm just hoping [the A's athletic trainers] are right and it's just a little inflammation that we can shoot up and work through."

Duchscherer had season-ending surgery on the same hip last June and said the pain he's feeling now is similar, but that last year's pain increased more gradually.

"Last year, it built slowly. It was there, then it would kind of die down, then it was there, and back and forth like that until it got really bad and we had to shut it down," he explained. "This time it was just there one day, in my last start [Aug. 13], and I pitched through it. But then it just got so bad [Monday] that I just couldn't pitch anymore. This time it all happened a lot faster."

If it's discovered that his hip can be dealt with through treatment and anti-inflammatories, Duchscherer will likely miss at least one start; the A's have been extremely cautious with even minor injuries this season.

"I don't want to miss any starts at all," Duchscherer said. "I want to prove I can pitch a whole season."

After Oakland's 13-2 loss Tuesday, A's manager Bob Geren said Duchscherer's visit with team orthopedist Dr. John Frazier included X-rays, which came back "clean," but Duchscherer will be sent for an MRI on Wednesday.