A-Rod surgery goes as expected

Updated: July 11, 2011, 3:25 PM ET
By Mike Mazzeo and Ian Begley | Special to ESPNNewYork.com

New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez underwent arthroscopic surgery to repair a slight meniscus tear in his right knee on Monday afternoon, and the surgery went as expected, according to the team.

Rodriguez is expected to miss four to six weeks. Dr. Lee Kaplan, who performed the surgery at the University of Miami, will oversee Rodriguez's rehabilitation, which will take place in Miami.

An MRI on Friday first revealed the tear. Rodriguez then met with Kaplan in Miami to have a second opinion on Sunday afternoon, and Kaplan recommended that he go under the knife.

"There's no doubt we're going to miss him, but we need to find a way. As I've said several times already this year, some people are going to have to step up," manager Joe Girardi said Sunday. "Up to this point, this team has. We certainly look forward to getting a healthy Alex back into our lineup, because we know what he adds to this team."

If he hadn't opted for surgery, Rodriguez could have tried to play through it and have the procedure in the offseason.

But Girardi expressed concern that Rodriguez would be forced to play eight consecutive games on turf after the All-Star break if he decided to forgo surgery. The Yankees open the second half with a four-game series in Toronto and then head to Tampa for a four-game set against the Rays.

Before going to Miami, Rodriguez sounded upset over the prospect that he'd have to miss a portion of the season, but ultimately decided it would be best to have it now and come back for the stretch run in August and September.

Rodriguez originally suffered the injury on June 19 in Chicago. He thought about scoring on a passed ball, but ultimately decided against it. And in the process of turning back toward third base, Rodriguez tweaked his knee.

"It's hard to get into missing 20, 30, 40 games when you don't know, but at the same time you don't want to limp toward the finish line," Rodriguez said Saturday. "The most important games are played at the end."

He already had withdrawn from the All-Star Game on Tuesday in Phoenix.

"It is what it is," Rodriguez said. "Most players play with bumps and bruises, but you never expect it to be a tear. Obviously, it was disappointing."

Rodriguez, who is batting .295 with 52 RBIs in 80 games, has just 13 home runs so far, putting him on pace for 24 for the season. That would snap his streak of 13 straight seasons with 30 or more home runs.

Eduardo Nunez is likely to step in at third base. Nunez is hitting .278 with three home runs and 14 RBIs this season. He played shortstop during Derek Jeter's recent stay on the 15-day disabled list.

"If you don't have Alex for a while, you tell Nunie, don't try to be Alex, just be Nunie. But it's not someone that you can really replace," Girardi said.

Mike Mazzeo and Ian Begley are regular contributors to ESPNNewYork.com.

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