- Wallace Matthews, ESPNNewYork.com
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BALTIMORE -- Alex Rodriguez left Thursday night's Yankees-Orioles game after one inning with what he described as "a cramp" in the area of his right groin and will be examined by team physician Dr. Chris Ahmad when the team returns to New York on Friday.
Rodriguez also said he would speak with Dr. Marc Phillipon, who performed surgery on his right hip in March 2009, raising the suspicion that the injury was related to the hip problem that caused him to miss the first 28 games of last season.
"The hip is fine," Rodriguez said.
But when asked why he would consult with Phillipon if he felt the groin discomfort was unrelated, he said, "That's kind of a crazy question. It's the right hip, and the right hip is right next to the ... I mean, wouldn't you? There's not a controversy. Don't go looking for something that's not there."
Rodriguez, who left Sunday's game in Toronto in the ninth inning due to what was termed "tightness" in his right groin, said he has experienced some discomfort before every game since, but "once I get warm, it gets going. I had some cramps prior to batting practice and then 10-12 minutes before the game. For the the last two days it's felt exactly the same but today, I just couldn't get loose."
He said there was no pain, but more of a cramping sensation. "I think we've all felt it at some point," he said. "Sometimes you wake up and you get a cramp in your hammy or in your calf or whatnot. I'm a little confused. I've never felt that way before."
A-Rod's removal from the game, won by the Orioles, 4-3, followed an RBI single by Adam Jones on a first-inning ground ball that passed between Rodriguez and shortstop Derek Jeter. Rodriguez hardly made a move after the ball.
"Not only do I make the play, but a routine play, a play you make 10 out of 10 times," he said. "But I just locked up."
At that point, Rodriguez said he signaled into the Yankee dugout for backup infielder Ramiro Pena to prepare to enter the game. "I had kinda warned him about 15 minutes before the game to get ready," Rodriguez said.
Manager Joe Girardi also noticed Rodriguez's lack of mobility on Jones' grounder. "We pulled him because we just didn't feel like he was moving right," Girardi said.
With Rodriguez out of the lineup and the Yankees forced to go with the light-hitting Pena in the cleanup spot, they were unable to muster much offense against Jake Arrieta, who held the defending world champions to four hits in six innings to win his major league debut.
He also helped the Orioles snap a 10-game losing streak against the Yankees dating back to April 27.
"In hindsight you'd rather that didn't happen," Girardi said of having to use Pena in the four-hole, "but Alex felt that he could go and it just didn't work out."
Both Rodriguez and Girardi said they did not know what, if any, tests the third baseman would undergo on Friday, but the manager said it was "very possible" that Rodriguez would have an MRI.
"Hopefully it's just a day-to-day thing, but we might need to give him a couple of days off," Girardi said. "The fact that he doesn't have pain makes me feel a lot better, but that doesn't mean we're totally out of the woods."
Alex Rodriguez was removed for a pinch-hitter before his first at-bat of Thursday night's Yankees-Orioles game at Camden Yards