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Old 03-05-2009, 01:31 PM
stevo stevo is online now
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Default Yankees taking precautions on A-Rod's hip injury

Yankees taking precautions on A-Rod's hip injury
BY KAT O'BRIEN | kat.obrien@newsday.com; Staff writer Arthur Staple contributed to this story.
March 5, 2009

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - The Yankees will take no unnecessary risks with their $275-million third baseman, Alex Rodriguez.

There's no messing around with an investment of that size, which is why the Yankees sent Rodriguez to be examined by hip specialist Dr. Marc Philippon in Vail, Colo., yesterday afternoon. Rodriguez complained of stiffness and tightness in his right hip during the middle of last season, but it never caused pain and thus never became a greater concern.

The Yankees did not release any information last night about the results of the examination. They are likely to provide an update today.

For months Rodriguez has been trying to keep the hip loose and to get it looser by doing a variety of stretches and exercises. Those do not seem to be working, though. It's possible that Philippon will have to surgically remove the cyst, though nothing will be clear until he speaks with Yankees officials.

Rodriguez told the Yankees he thought the hip soreness was restricting his bat motion, however, and possibly affecting his power. That led them to have him examined by team physician Chris Ahmad Saturday, and also undergo an MRI. Ahmad discovered an internal cyst in Rodriguez's right hip, and he recommended that he see Philippon. The Yankees were awaiting Philippon's recommendation for the next course of action.

"Whenever you have something going on, you're concerned," manager Joe Girardi said. "The fact he didn't have a lot of pain is a little bit more comforting. He's been able to play, and to play at a high level. It hasn't kept him from doing anything. It hasn't kept him from driving the baseball. That's the good thing."

The Yankees felt comfortable enough with Rodriguez's status to let him leave Tampa and join the Dominican Republic's team in Jupiter, Fla., after Sunday's Reds-Yankees game. Permission was granted even though an appointment with Philippon was already on the calendar.

Even so, the Yankees will pull Rodriguez out of the WBC if there is any question about his health. "We have to err on the side of caution for the Yankees," Girardi said.

The hip has not been a major problem or Rodriguez would not have been allowed to see game action. Yet it is a concern because of his importance to the team and because of how long the irritation has lingered.

"If he was having pain, he would not have been playing," Girardi said, "and we would have been a lot more aggressive."

Girardi did not rule out the possibility of A-Rod's returning to play for the Dominican team, whose first game is Saturday. Said Girardi: "That will be determined by the doctor and Alex's and the Yankees' best interest."

The past month has been tumultuous for Rodriguez. Sports Illustrated reported Feb. 7 that he had tested positive for using steroids in 2003, and Rodriguez admitted two days later that he used steroids from 2001-2003. Since then, he has been dealing with that aftermath.

The Dominican team officials seemed hopeful that Rodriguez would rejoin them.

"Right now, I'm optimistic about him being here," manager Felipe Alou said. Dominican GM Stan Javier said: "For now, he's leaving with us [today]."

Staff writer Arthur Staple contributed to this story.

Yankees taking precautions on A-Rod's hip injury -- Newsday.com
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Old 03-06-2009, 12:30 PM
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Default BP Daily: Replacing A-Rod

BP Daily: Replacing A-Rod

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
By Christina Kahrl, Kevin Goldstein and Clay Davenport
Baseball Prospectus


If the Yankees decide to go hunting for something better than the non-answers for replacing Alex Rodriguez they have in their own system, there are a couple of ways they could go; shopping for journeymen or second-tier prospects blocked in their current organizations or perhaps gunning for something a little more exotic as action gets underway in the World Baseball Classic.

Jeff Baisley, Athletics: More known for his pitching exploits in college, Baisely was the Midwest League MVP two years ago, but he's slowed down a bit at the upper levels. Still, he's an above-average defender with a little bit of pop and some on-base skills, and the Nomar Garciaparra signing likely means another year at Triple-A for him. -- Kevin Goldstein

Matt Brown, Angels: An eight-year veteran of the Angels system, Brown has racked up 111 home runs in his minor league career, including 21 last year as part of .320/.373/.580 line at Triple-A Salt Lake. He's not a good defender, is ready as he'll ever be at 26 years old and is absolutely buried on the Angels depth chart, so he could be a cheap pickup. -- KG

Kory Casto, Nationals: Seemingly a prospect in the Nats' system for eons, Casto was moved to the outfield in 2007 simply because he was never going to supplant All-Star Ryan Zimmerman. Now he's 27 and stuck behind a younger, more talented group of outfielders. Ignore his poor big-league performance last year -- he has enough offensive ability to be a solid if unspectacular temporary replacement. -- KG
Is a rising Cuban star the answer?

The Cubans: If anyone was going to defect the WBC to don pinstripes, it's worth noting that Cuba actually has a position battle at third base. The established third baseman for the Cuban national team is Michel Enriquez. He's 30, and translates to a .299 Equivalent Average (.299/.383/.490) over the past four years; he had a batting average of .447 (translated .344) in Cuba two years ago. Enriquez also has over twice as many walks as strikeouts over the last four years; even translated, that's still better than 1:1. He missed part of the last two seasons due to a one-year suspension for attacking an umpire.

Yulieski Gourriel is 25, bigger than Enriquez, and more of a power hitter. His Cuba performance translates as .269/.333/.506 and a .284 EqA from 2005-2009, with 35 home runs per 650 PA. He was one of the most hoped-for defectors three years ago, when he was 22 and playing second base. He's continued to play second for the national teams until Enriquez' suspension, though he played third for his regular team. If there was a worldwide draft for every player not already affiliated with MLB, he'd be a top-five pick, and very possibly the first pick overall. -- Clay Davenport

Esteban German, Royals: Designated for assignment last weekend when Kansas City signed Juan Cruz, he's readily available. The high-OBP utilityman (career .358 OBP) has long been a minor hero in the sabermetrics pantheon; more properly a second baseman than a hot corner regular, he's also handy enough in the outfield and on the bases. Projected to get on base at a .330 clip in his age-31 season, if the Yankees made a move and deposited him at the bottom of the order to give the top a baserunner to drive in, he'd be an asset in A-Rod's absence, then a quality reserve once the star is back. -- Christina Kahrl


McPherson might be the classic 4-A option.
Jack Hannahan, Athletics: As a quality defender and a lefty bat to put into the Yankees' new home, Hannahan would have his uses. He's been stretched when pressed into full-time play filling in for the oft-injured Eric Chavez in Oakland, but signing Orlando Cabrera and Nomar Garciaparra crowds the infield. The Yankees could do worse, and that's assuming Brian Cashman doesn't decide to wait and see if he winds up on waivers, a la German. -- CK

Dallas McPherson, Marlins: The former Angels prospect has struggled with problems with a knee, the strike zone and playing third, but if you want a poor man's Russell Branyan for lefty power, McPherson might fill the bill after leading the minor leagues with 42 home runs for the Albuquerque Isotopes last season. We project him to hit a homer every 22 plate appearances in the majors, but strike out once every 2.8. -- CK

Shuichi Murata: Japan's starting third baseman in the WBC, Murata plays third for Yokohama. His overall translated stat line is an unimpressive .252/.319/.453 and a .264 EqA, but that hides a trajectory of .228-.251-.270-.301 in his Equivalent Averages in the last four years. Now 28 years old, he's only 5'9", but he led the Japanese leagues with 46 home runs this past year and was third in RBI (time off for the Olympics might have cost him the lead). He also led the Central League in home runs in 2007 as well. The bad news (beyond his unavailability) is that his defense is poor. -- CD


Christina Kahrl, Clay Davenport and Kevin Goldstein are authors for Baseball Prospectus.
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