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09/20/07 2:45 AM ET

Mulder needs additional surgery

Cardinals left-hander expects to be ready for Spring Training

ST.LOUIS -- When Cardinals left-hander Mark Mulder went to team physician George Paletta's office on Tuesday morning to undergo tests on his surgically repaired left shoulder, he honestly believed the tests were going to prove everything was OK with his shoulder and he just needed more time to get back to original form.

He was wrong.

Mulder's MRI revealed complete healing of the labrum, but only partial healing of the rotator cuff. As a result, Mulder will undergo additional surgery to remove damaged tissue in the rotator cuff.

"It was such a grind mentally trying to get my arm strength where it needed to be, and I couldn't do it," Mulder said. "I was kind of expecting to go in and them to say 'Everything looks OK, it just needs some more time.' In a way, it kind of explains a lot, also."

Paletta consulted with Dr. David Altchek, the Mets' team physician and the doctor who performed Mulder's original shoulder surgery last September. Both doctors agreed Mulder needs to undergo arthroscopic surgery to repair the rotator cuff.

Unlike the first surgery that Altchek performed, Mulder's next procedure will be performed by Paletta. Mulder said the procedure is rather routine. Paletta was in New York to observe Mulder's original surgery at the pitcher's request.

"Not that I expected this, but that's why I asked him to be there in the first place," Mulder said. "It's a simple kind of procedure from what I understand."

The rehab period for this surgery should take far less time than Mulder's first one. The left-hander said he expected it to be about a month or two until he's allowed to throw again, and he fully expects to be ready for the start of Spring Training.

"There's disappointment, because I worked as hard as I tried to work to get back," Mulder said. "I knew the whole time I just couldn't get my arm where it quite needed to be. This will have no effect on next season though. If it did, it would be a lot tougher."

Mulder said no one is quite certain exactly when the injury took place. He didn't know if it was something that wasn't totally fixed during the first surgery, or if it happened once he was rehabbing during a toss or something of the sort. He said the doctors won't know until they go in and look at it.

In Mulder's three starts this season, he was 0-3 with a 12.27 ERA, and didn't last more than four innings in any start. He gave up 22 hits and walked seven in 11 innings.

"We had to do what's right," Cards manager Tony La Russa said. "I hope that pitching some this year didn't do anything to set him back because it was encouraging to watch him make the progress. Whatever it takes, we'll do it."

Daniel Berk is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.