The recovery time can be fairly quick after such procedures, too, said A's manager Bob Geren, a former big-league catcher who has had seven knee operations.
"In my experience, it's four-to-six weeks with the meniscus," Geren said. "Everybody heals different, but unless there's a setback or complications, that's the typical time frame."
Outfielder Bobby Kielty had surgery to repair a slightly torn meniscus in his left knee on March 2 and was back on the field for his Cactus League debut on March 26.
Loaiza, who is on the 60-day disabled list with a bulging disk in his neck, said the neck is 100 percent, as is his arm. The knee flared up during his first rehab start, prompting the MRI exam that revealed the tear, but he decided to try to pitch through it.
Despite dealing with more discomfort in a second rehab start last week, when he was touched for three runs on five hits -- including a home run -- over 2 2/3 innings for Triple-A Sacramento, Loaiza was scheduled to pitch again this week. Geren even laid out the details of that proposed outing Monday.
Loaiza, however, changed his mind about pitching in pain, in part because he was concerned that compensating for the knee might force mechanical changes that could lead to arm trouble.
"It's better to take care of this now, get it over with," he said. "Then, hopefully, I can help the team with a good second half."
No relief for Duke: Righty setup man Justin Duchscherer, on the 15-day DL with a right hip strain, is eligible to be activated Wednesday, but his return isn't close to imminent.
He pitched a perfect inning at Class A Stockton on Monday, but he's heading to Nashville for a Friday consultation with Dr. J. Thomas Byrd, the team physician for the NFL's Tennessee Titans.
"He's going for another opinion," Geren said.
Byrd gained some notoriety in baseball circles last September when he performed hip surgery on Cardinals closer Jason Isringhausen to ease the pain of arthritis and a minor impingement.
Isringhausen made it back to the mound for the Cards by mid-March and entered Tuesday with 13 saves and a 1.42 ERA in 20 appearances for the reigning world champions.
Geren said he hasn't heard that surgery is a possibility for Duchscherer but added, "Nothing injury related is going to surprise us at this point. We'll see what he needs and go from there, like we have with everyone else.
"The goal is to get him back when he's completely pain-free. Whenever that might be, I don't know. I'm not a doctor."
Lineup shuffle? Outfielder Milton Bradley, on the 15-day DL with a strained left hamstring, looked sharp during batting practice and is expected to be activated Wednesday and start.
"When he comes off the DL, he's gonna be 100 percent healthy," Geren said.
Mark Kotsay, who had back surgery in early March, will be activated off the 60-day DL on Friday and start in center field. Geren said he hasn't decided on where Kotsay will hit, or if the returns of Bradley and Kotsay will mean regular time at designated hitter for Dan Johnson.
Johnson has been starting at first base, but might slide into a regular DH role if the A's go with current center fielder Nick Swisher at first. Current DH Jack Cust, who went 13-for-42 (.310) with eight homers and 20 RBIs in his first 13 games with Oakland, snapped an 0-for-17 slide with an RBI double Monday night and is batting .115 (3-for-26) with that one RBI over his past eight games entering Tuesday's action.
"I've thought about all that often," Geren said. "I can't say how it's going to shake out, but when you add two players of that caliber to the lineup, it's good for the Oakland A's."
Mum's the word: Third baseman Eric Chavez, who snapped out of an extended funk with a three-run homer and a double Monday night, was cryptic when discussing his health after the game, saying, "We'll know everything in a couple of days. ... I'll tell you everything you need to know."
Geren said he had no further information, but a source said Chavez was scheduled for some testing on his right triceps. Geren last week said Chavez was suffering from tendinitis in the area.
"It's totally different from last year," Geren said, referring to the forearms tendinitis that slowed Chavez for much of 2006. "His forearms have been fine for a few weeks now."
Chavez did not take batting practice with the team Tuesday, but hitting coach Ty Van Burkleo said Chavez was planning to hit in the indoor cages before the game.
Dribblers: Slumping catcher Jason Kendall did not start for the second time in three games, and Geren suggested that Adam Melhuse might start seeing more playing time if Kendall, who was batting .182 with no homers and 12 RBIs through Monday, doesn't turn things around. "Possibly," Geren said, noting that Kendall's been working extremely hard to get on track. "There's no master plan or anything." ... Closer Huston Street, on the 15-day DL with right elbow pain, said his arm feels good and he might start playing light catch Friday. Geren said there's no timetable for Street's return. ... Righty Rich Harden, on the 15-day DL with a right shoulder impingement, made 40 throws from about 80 feet in the outfield Monday and will do the same Wednesday. He'll throw every other day, Geren said, "until they decide to go every day. When that will be, I don't know."
Up next: A's righty and American League ERA leader Dan Haren (5-2, 1.70) will get the ball opposite Rangers lefty John Koronka (0-1, 5.40 ERA) in the series finale Wednesday afternoon. The first pitch is set for 12:35 p.m. PT.