By Jon Lane
So A-Rod is reportedly having hip surgery that will keep him out of action from anywhere between six and 10 weeks.
Alex Rodriguez, thus far the polarizing flavor figure of 2009, is apparently facing another round of adversity. But let’s be fair. I am not a doctor. I am nothing close to a medical expert, so I am not going to even attempt to figure out a connection between a cyst, hip surgery and steroids. We’re talking strictly baseball here and it’s the way it should be.
Here’s what’s known and been reported:
A link to the ESPN/ESPNdeportes report, which quotes A-Rod’s older brother, Joe Dunand, saying that immediate surgery was recommended. “It’s a big blow for the whole family. Alex is destroyed,” Joe told Enrique Rojas. A source close to this added that the surgery is scheduled for Monday, March 9, in Colorado.
According to Jack Curry, a club official said there would be an announcement about Rodriguez’s situation later today. This morning, wrote Peter Abraham, Joe Girardi claimed he didn’t know anything about this situation. Pete Caldera added Girardi was going to speak with general manager Brian Cashman to learn more.
However this turns out, look at it this way: This was discovered now, not in August or September. And if it’s more or less than 10 weeks, A-Rod will be back and in position to make significant contributions to the 2009 Yankees.
Anyone who suggests that the Yankees are better off without A-Rod has no clue. In five seasons with the Yankees – do not bring up steroids and not even the postseason since Game 3 of the 2004 ALCS – Rodriguez has averaged 42 home runs, 123 RBIs and 119 runs scored while batting .303 and winning two AL MVP Awards. You try replacing those numbers. Furthermore, who’s batting cleanup? Who is protecting Mark Teixeira? The last thing the Yankees can afford is a slow start, but this offense is suddenly drained of a major power source.
Here are some of the names being bandied about as possible stopgap replacements.
The simple solution is to stay within the organization. Ransom, 33, has been in and out of the Majors with three teams since 2001 and batted .302 in 33 games with the Yankees last season. Most people will be clamoring for a “name,” but acquiring for a “name” costs both money and players and the Yankees won’t do anything stupid just to acquire a band-aid. And in just speaking with Joe Auriemma, he reminded me how the Yankees handled Derek Jeter missing 43 games with an injured shoulder in 2003. He’ll have more later on Erick Almonte and how the Yankees can go about weathering this storm.
Why not Ransom? He’s the best athlete on the Yankees.
Why not Duncan? Well, the Yankees’ first-round pick in ’03 wasn’t invited to the big-league camp. He’s been working out at the team’s Minor League complex, but the window of opportunity may be shut.