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Girardi holds court on Day 2 of Meetings

12/04/2012 8:55 PM ET
By Mike Axisa

NASHVILLE – GM Brian Cashman unexpectedly met with the media on Monday in the wake of Alex Rodriguez’s hip injury, but on Tuesday manager Joe Girardi spoke to reporters at the Winter Meetings during a regularly scheduled session. As expected, he discussed his third baseman’s latest ailment.

“When I told him that I was going to pinch hit for him -- that was in Game Three (of the ALDS) -- he had told me that him and (hitting coach Kevin Long) were talking, and basically he just felt his hips weren’t firing right,” said Girardi. “It wasn’t pain, but he just felt there was not the explosiveness. We sent him out for an MRI, I believe it was the next day, but it was on his right hip, and that came back fine. So I kept playing him. Little did we know it was his left hip, we found out much later, and now we’re at the point where he needs surgery, and we’re going to be without him for a substantial period of time.”

Girardi acknowledged it may take two players in a platoon situation to fill in at third base while Rodriguez is on the mend. Internal options like Double-A infielder David Adams do not have enough experience to handle the position at the big league level on an everyday basis, and the team wants to keep Eduardo Nunez at shortstop as much as possible.

“It’s big,” said Girardi, who indicated the team will seek an infielder capable of playing a full season at the position in case Rodriguez’s rehab takes longer than expected. “You go into an offseason and you feel you have to address certain areas and all of a sudden you get a little bit of a surprise. It’s a pretty big hole to fill, and it may not necessarily be (filled) with one person.”

The Yankees, who are insured for at least 70% of the $114 million left on A-Rod’s contract in the case he is unable to continue playing after this latest hip injury, have focused on finding third base and right field help this week. Catching help in the wake of Russell Martin’s defection to the Pirates is on the back-burner.

More from Nashville:

* Cashman confirmed talking to representatives for free agent third baseman Kevin Youkilis and catcher A.J. Pierzynski in addition to Eric Chavez, Raul Ibanez, and Ichiro Suzuki. Mark Reynolds is also on the team’s radar. The YES Network’s Jack Curry reported Youkilis is open to signing a one-year contract if the dollars are right, but the two sides are far apart on money at the moment.

* The Yankees also met with the representatives for free agent infielder Jeff Keppinger on Monday. The team has had long-standing interest in the 32-year-old – talks to acquire him from the Astros in 2010 fell apart due to a foot injury – and they increased their efforts to sign him following A-Rod’s hip injury. A CBS Sports report indicated Keppinger is seeking $12 million across three years

* The Yankees will listen to trade inquires for both Curtis Granderson and Phil Hughes, but neither player is actively being shopped. Cashman is the type to listen on all his players, but Granderson and Hughes are among his most marketable pieces as one-year rentals. Both players are due to hit free agency after next season.

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