Yankees could pursue modest fix at third

12/03/2012 4:27 PM ET
By Jack Curry

NASHVILLE – When Alex Rodriguez was removed for pinch-hitter Raul Ibanez in the American League Division Series, it was the first time he told Joe Girardi that his surgically-repaired right hip was bothering him. Rodriguez immediately had an MRI on the hip, but no problems were found. Oddly, it was the left hip that was actually troubling him.

After the season ended, Rodriguez had a physical and a subsequent examination of the left hip revealed that he had a torn labrum, a bone impingement and a cyst. Rodriguez will have surgery on his left hip in January and is expected to be out for four-to-six months. For a team that needs a catcher and a right fielder, losing Rodriguez to start the 2013 season was a depressing development.

“Right now, time is a problem,” said general manager Brian Cashman. “We’re going to be missing him for some time. It’s our job to find a way to withstand this.”

Since the Yankees have been aware of Rodriguez’s status and hadn’t yet made a move to add a player who could play third base, I wonder if that’s an indication that they will look to replace Rodriguez in a modest way. Cashman called Rodriguez’s injury significant and serious, but also said that he will not overreact to try and fill the void at third.

“If it’s not practical,” Cashman said, “we won’t do it.”

Could Cashman be playing possum with his comments? Sure. But, again, the Yankees have had the opportunity to sign or acquire someone who could have filled in for A-Rod and they haven’t rushed to do that. The team is hopeful that Rodriguez could return by June. In what might have been another hint that the Yankees could pursue a modest fix, Cashman said Rodriguez “will be back. We have to plan accordingly.”

The Yankees need Rodriguez to recover and return and produce. He is signed for five more years and is owed $114 million. Cashman said the doctors that examined Rodriguez believe his hip trouble was a contributing factor in his struggles at the end of the regular season and in the postseason. Rodriguez was 3-for-25 with no extra-base hits and 12 strikeouts in the playoffs.

After Rodriguez’s first hip surgery, he came back in two months and knocked in 100 runs in 124 games. Cashman said Rodriguez’s second surgery is more complicated and that is why there is a longer recovery time. The Yankees remain hopeful that Rodriguez can once again be a productive player.

“To what degree,” Cashman said, “you have to stay tuned and watch.”

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