Wrap from Day 1 of Winter Meetings
NASHVILLE – Rather than potentially answering questions about a new player he’s acquired, Yankees GM Brian Cashman spent Day 1 of the Winter Meetings answering questions about one of his own. Alex Rodriguez will undergo surgery for a torn labrum, a bone impingement and the correction of a cyst in his left hip next month after completing four-to-six weeks of “pre-habilition” work.
“I do think that it’s a likely scenario that the struggles that we saw in September and October are, more likely that not, related to this issue,” said Cashman while speaking with reporters. “There were times that we thought watching him that he was all arms and no legs (with his swing).”
Cashman explained that Rodriguez, 37, first alerted the team to an issue with his right hip after being pinch-hit for in Game 3 of the ALDS. Tests showed the right hip to be fine and it wasn’t until a follow-up exam late last month that the left hip trouble came to light. Rodriguez had no pain and was asymptomatic.
A-Rod had surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right hip in March 2009 and missed a little more than two months. The bone impingement makes the surgery for the new injury more complicated and the expected recovery time longer. Dr. Bryan Kelly from the Hospital for Special Surgery will perform the procedure after Dr. Marc Phillippon performed the 2009 operation.
"My sole interest is improving the club," said Cashman when asked about finding a replacement third baseman before the season. "Right now, time is a problem. We're going to be missing him for some time. It's our job to find a way to withstand this. He will be back. We have to plan accordingly ... If it's not practical, we won't do it."
The Yankees have reportedly kicked the tires on free agent shortstop Stephen Drew, but he has yet to indicate a willingness to play third base. Cashman said he views Eduardo Nunez as a shortstop and not as a third baseman. The team does not consider other free agents like Kevin Youkilis, Placido Polanco and Ty Wigginton to be everyday players at the hot corner either.
Notes from Nashville…
* The Yankees remain interested in free agent and former Met Scott Hairston. The right-handed hitting outfielder would replace Andruw Jones, but he is seeking a multi-year contract and New York is hesitant to spend future payroll dollars. Cashman confirmed they will still try to get under the $189 million luxury tax threshold by 2014 despite A-Rod’s injury.
* Robinson Cano will play for the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic next spring. With CC Sabathia (elbow), Mariano Rivera (knee), Jeter and A-Rod all coming off surgery, Cano may be the team’s only representative in the tournament. Hiroki Kuroda has already declined an invitation from Team Japan and Curtis Granderson is unlikely to crack a crowded Team USA outfield. David Robertson could qualify for the bullpen, however.
* The National Baseball Hall of Fame announced that the Pre-Integration Committee had elected former Yankees owner Jacob Ruppert as one of three new members, joining umpire Hank O’Day and catcher Deacon Jones. Ruppert owned the franchise from 1915-1939. Babe Ruth was acquired and the original Yankee Stadium was build under his watch.