Surgery still possible for A-Rod

Updated: March 6, 2009, 12:19 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez has a torn labrum in his right hip, in addition to a cyst, both the Yankees and his agent confirmed Thursday.

But the next step in dealing with the injury appears to be in question.

On Thursday morning, Rodriguez's brother, Joe Dunand, told ESPNdeportes.com in a phone interview that Alex Rodriguez would have surgery to remove the cyst and would be out 10 weeks.

In addition, a source close to the situation told ESPNdeportes.com that the surgery is scheduled for Monday in Colorado.

But Thursday afternoon, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said the three-time AL MVP will be treated conservatively in the hope of avoiding an operation. Cashman said that if surgery is needed, Rodriguez would be sidelined for four months.

"We're collectively trying to figure out what is best to do," Cashman said. "We don't want to rush into it. We want to digest it."

He said that if Rodriguez is able to play, the three-time AL MVP might have offseason surgery to repair the labrum tear. Cashman said Rodriguez's preference was to try rest and treatment first.

Cashman said the team hopes the cyst was the cause of stiffness that had bothered Rodriguez this season and caused him to see a specialist, Dr. Marc Philippon, Wednesday in Vail, Colo. The cyst was discovered earlier this week in an MRI exam.

Rodriguez's agent, Scott Boras, said in an interview on ESPN's "Baseball Tonight" that the cyst was aspirated during that visit, and doctors would evaluate the hip for the next three or four days.

"The cyst he has got to the size that was extraordinarily large and it finally brought him to the point he needed to get medical attention," Boras said. "All of us know in the end that the worst-case scenario, it'll be repaired, he'll return to normal, if not better, standards.

Boras also said that no decision regarding surgery had been made yet.

"The doctor wants him to go through some swing motions and physical movements and evaluate him," Boras said during the interview. "The best thing we can do now ... get some clear X-rays, he's with a well-known surgeon, and get a very clear picture the next few days."

The development means that Rodriguez, 33, will not be able to participate with the Dominican Republic team in the World Baseball Classic.

All of us know in the end that the worst-case scenario, it'll be repaired, he'll return to normal, if not better, standards.

-- Scott Boras, Alex Rodriguez's agent

"It's a big blow for the whole family. Alex is destroyed," Dunand told ESPNdeportes.com. "We were all very excited to see him play with the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic.

"But the most important thing is to have a successful surgery so that Alex may continue his career."

Dunand was originally reported by ESPN as going by the name of Joe Rodriguez. Subsequent calls to Dunand confirmed he prefers to go by that surname. According to ESPNdeportes.com, Dunand is the son of Victor Rodriguez and Lourdes Navarro, Rodriguez's father and mother.

The injury is the latest setback for baseball's highest-paid and perhaps best player, who last month admitted using banned drugs while playing for Texas from 2001 to 2003. And it leaves a huge hole in the lineup for the Yankees, who are trying to rebound after missing the playoffs last season following 13 consecutive appearances.

Last year, Rodriguez was sidelined from April 28 to May 20 because of a strained right quadriceps -- his fifth career trip to the disabled list.

His 138 games were his fewest since 1999, when he tore the medial meniscus in his left knee during a spring training agility drill on March 30. He played in the first two games of that season with Seattle, then was put on the disabled list April 7 and missed 32 games until he returned May 14.

The Yankees are 20-23 in the 43 games Rodriguez has missed since he joined the team in 2004.

"It's worrisome thinking about your club without Alex," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "Alex hasn't had any pain. Shocked. I think that's a pretty good way to describe it."

If Rodriguez is sidelined, New York would have to replace its third baseman and cleanup hitter, behind new first baseman Mark Teixeira. The leading internal candidate to take over at third would be Cody Ransom, a 33-year-old who has 183 at-bats in six major league seasons.

Stan Javier, general manager of the Dominican Republic's team at the WBC, told ESPNdeportes.com: "I haven't received any information on the results of the medical exams performed on A-Rod."

Dominican manager Felipe Alou said later on Thursday that he was preparing to adjust the lineup. Shortstop Miguel Tejada has been taking grounders at third base.

"The way I see it, it looks like we're going to have to replace him. We're making some calls and contacts because we don't have much time," Alou said.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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