The Washington Times - August 4, 2011, 08:06PM

DENVER — The road back to the active roster for 39-year-old catcher Ivan Rodriguez took another pit stop Thursday when he suffered a setback in his rehab from a right oblique strain. Instead of continuing his progress toward a rehab assignment — one that could have come as early as this weekend — Rodriguez will pack up and head to Philadelphia for a second opinion.

Rodriguez will visit Dr. Bill Meyers, the same doctor who performed surgery on the torn rectus muscle in Ryan Zimmerman’s abdomen earlier this season. 

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This is the second setback for Rodriguez, who suffered the initial injury in batting practice on July 7. He had to cut a batting practice session short in Houston two weeks ago and, shortly thereafter, returned to his home in Miami to workout with his personal physical therapist. The pain and tightness had been subsiding. The catcher told Nationals manager Davey Johnson earlier this week that his pain level had dropped to a four (on a scale of 1-10) from a six or a seven when he initially left for Miami. 

But that all changed Thursday. For the Nationals, they’ll continue to go with catcher Jesus Flores as the backup, the man who was once their “catcher of the future,” and I’ll have a story on the main site up shortly with more on his continued progress at the major league level.

For Rodriguez, it is a significant setback. The catcher has already seen diminished playing time this season as he transitioned into more of a backup role behind Wilson Ramos and he’s now lost four weeks and counting of his season. Rodriguez is 158 hits shy of 3,000 in his career and it’s a number that means a lot to him. He has mentioned the milestone several times, noting that he called one-time teammate Derek Jeter when he reached the mark a few weeks ago. 

Rodriguez prides himself on his peak physical condition and his workout routine but an oblique strain is really independent of that and is notorious for taking a long time to heal. Rodriguez would have been a prime candidate for a waiver trade this month once he was returned to the active roster and Nationals GM Mike Rizzo was fielding calls about the catcher before the July 31 non-waiver deadline, but his injury has squashed most chance of a trade as well.