Yesterday, we discussed who could replace A-Rod if the Yanks’ slugger needs surgery. Buster Olney — in a piece discussing Mark Teixeira‘s new role on the Yanks — has another internal option for the Yanks to consider.

The Yankees have talked internally in the past about how Robinson Cano‘s best position might be third base in the long term. And it might be that if they determine A-Rod will be out for a long period of time, they could shift Cano from second to third and create another set of options for themselves as they try to replace A-Rod’s offense.

Olney also notes that the Yanks have some insurance on A-Rod’s contract if Rodriguez is out for an extended period of time.

Anyway, that Cano option is intriguing. The Yanks could shift Robbie to a new position and opt for the slightly easier route of filling the second base hole. Mark Grudzielanek, my choice, and Ray Durham are both still free agents. Tim Dierkes feels that the Yanks could inquire on Dan Uggla too.

Right now, A-Rod will play on — and no, he’s not getting traded to the Mariners as Impacto Deportivo is reporting. The Yanks will hope that judicious rest and proper rehab can lead A-Rod to a productive 2009, but if it can’t, they have a bunch of options both internally and externally.

Categories : Injuries
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  • Checking in on the Rule Vers

    Chad Jennings has done a stellar job this spring of covering how former Yankee farmhands are doing as they attempt to break camp with other teams. Today, he has up his best recap yet. He e-mailed some top bloggers of other teams to get their assessments of the Yanks’ Rule V victims. To sum: Aaron Gleeman thinks Jason Jones is a long shot for the Twins; FishStripes doesn’t like Zack Kroenke’s chances with the Marlins; U.S.S. Mariner is 50-50 on Reegie Corona; and Ducksnorts likes Ivan Nova’s chances in San Diego. Check out the post for more. Great idea and great execution from Jennings. · (15) ·

It’s de rigeur for anyone covering the Yankees to write about how different Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez are. One is the Yankee Captain. He knows winning. He has intangibles (and a, um, $189 million contract). The other is a paid mercenary who pads his stats and just wants to be the center of attention. He hurts the team and is a pox on New York.

One of those players has his contract coming up for renewal at the end of next year, and while the Yanks probably wish they could dump Alex Rodriguez in 22 months, it is Derek and his contract who will be at the eye of that storm. That this decision is still two years away isn’t impacting anyone from writing about, and the latest reporter to opine on the situation is Ian O’Connor. Let’s see what he had to say:

This franchise player can’t be trusted with the franchise. It has nothing to do with a hip that could bench A-Rod until who knows when, and everything to do with a lack of leadership skills and common sense that would allow him to use steroids, to tell all sorts of tall tales about his drug use and to wish out loud that Reyes played for the Yanks.

Just another circle of reasons why the Yankees should extend the contract of A-Rod’s most conspicuous ex-friend, Jeter, whose deal will expire at the close of next season. They need to keep Jeter beyond 2010, if only to serve as an A-Rod deodorant…

Jeter should be anywhere from 65 to 100 hits shy of 3,000 at the end of his current deal. The Yankees can’t possibly finance A-Rod’s hollow home-run derby while denying the face of their last dynasty — and the face of all drug-free players — his chance to become the first man in franchise history to clear 3,000 hits.

The captain will be 37 in the summer of 2011, the first season of a potential extension. He will need to rely on his intangible grace more than ever as his physical skills decline.

But if any golden oldie is worth the gamble, Jeter’s the one. The Yanks gave him $189 million for leading them to the four championships. They should offer him another $45 million over two years for helping them build the new palace across the street in the Bronx.

O’Connor’s justification for an inexplicable raise is that it would be his last contract no matter what. The Yankees would be giving Jeter a gracious send-off by overpaying one of the richest athletes in New York. Brilliant!

If this is the type of argument writers are going to make until and unless the Yankees lock up Jeter through the end of his career, I dread the next two years. When the time comes, the Yankees will have to evaluate their commitment to Jeter not through some nostalgic lens of a World Series last won in 2000 but rather through one that judges what Derek can do for the Yanks in 2011 and beyond.

There will be a spot on the team for the Captain if he is willing to take it. He’ll be 37, and he won’t be a viable short stop. He also won’t earn $20 or $22.5 million a year. Intangibles aren’t worth the farm, and those covering the Yanks shouldn’t sound so naive about Derek Jeter.

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Until the end of the 2017 season, Alex Rodriguez is the property of the New York Yankees. The team has invested nearly $300 million in him with the expectation that he will be among the best in baseball. In return, his bosses control his health, his training regime and most of his life.

A few weeks ago, when A-Rod Story II — the steroid scandal — broke, Brian Cashman seemed to indicate his understanding of this relationship. “We’ve invested in him as an asset,” the Yanks’ GM said at the time. “And because of that, this is an asset that is going through a crisis. So we’ll do everything we can to protect that asset and support that asset and try to salvage that asset.”

On Thursday, Ross at New Stadium Insider played off that quote and noted that the team has failed to protect one of its top assets. The news though got even more damning as the day unfolded.

Jack Curry and Tyler Kepner turned up some very alarming statements from the Yankee brass concerning the timing of A-Rod’s injury and the team’s knowledge about it.

Cashman said the Yankees discovered an irregularity in Rodriguez’s hip last May when he underwent a magnetic resonance imaging exam for a right quadriceps injury. By June or July, the hitting coach Kevin Long said he could notice subtle changes in Rodriguez’s hitting, notably in his right foot — the back one in his stance.

The foot was not pivoting fully, Long said, and as a result, Rodriguez could not completely turn his waist and clear his hips. This caused his bat to drag and prevented him from driving through the ball and generating maximum power.

“Speed-wise, to catch up to 95, 96 mile-an-hour pitches, you’ve basically got to get your hips through,” Long said. “It affects bat speed, power, balance. From a technical standpoint, it affects quite a few things. But he’s so gifted and so talented that he made due with what he had.”

Cashman goes on to defend the move not to give A-Rod an MRI last spring. Cashman claims that if you sent the entire team for MRIs, most of them would come back with problems due to wear and tear. That A-Rod felt no pain — but did adjust his approach at the plate — meant that the Yanks would not force their $300-million man into the MRI tube. “You don’t treat the M.R.I., you treat the patient,” Cashman said. “There was no pain and he was never having a problem with it. You talk with him about it, make him aware of it and off you go.”

For now, the Yankees will have A-Rod play, but medical experts all agree that he will need surgery eventually. The Yanks are risking permanent, long-term damage to his hip socket by electing the rehab path. I guess they know what they’re doing.

Those among us who do not like Cashman are right to express outrage and incredulity at this latest revelation. The Yankees showed here an unwillingness to treat potential injuries with any sort of aggression or urgency. By letting A-Rod dictate the terms of his visits to the doctors, the Yankees are risking their investment and the team’s on-field success.

With this injury and the behind-the-scenes glimpse Kepner and Curry provided, the Yankees should use this experience as one from which they must learn. Injuries do not heal themselves, and Major League Baseball players never like to sit out. Someone has to protect the investment, and Brian Cashman and the Yankee coaches dropped the ball.

Categories : Injuries
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  • Mo graces the bullpen with his presence

    While A-Rod dominated the day, the Yanks received a spark of good news amidst the injury chatter. Mariano Rivera, coming off a minor shoulder surgery, threw his first bullpen of the spring today and felt good just like we knew that he would. Rivera took a mound session at about 85-90 percent today and plans to get a few more of those in before facing batters on March 17. · (25) ·

Today has been quite the day, hasn’t it? It started off benign, but then we learned early in the day that A-Rod would require surgery to remove a cyst from his hip. This would cause him to miss 10 weeks, meaning the beginning of the season. However, that report was pretty much false on all fronts.

Yes, A-Rod does need surgery. However, it looks like he’ll put it off in favor of rest and rehab. There’s no real timetable for when he’ll be in action, but it sounds like he’s ready to play through the pain. The surgery option, as we later found out, would shelve A-Rod for four months, not 10 weeks. So while the ESPN Deportes report set the tone for the day, it was pretty much false. A-Rod is not getting surgery which will keep him out 10 weeks.

Plenty of commenters want to see him elect for the surgery so the team can have him back in the second half. Unfortunately, none among us, at least that I know of, is a doctor, so it’s not a call we’re qualified to make. Team doctors, as well as the hip specialist, have the records in hand, and decisions were made based on that. Maybe the tear is to a degree that he could make it through a whole season before needing surgery.

At this point, there’s no telling what will happen. Surgery would be a big blow to the team, but it would be a bigger blow if he gets off to a slow start and finds the pain unbearable come May. That could keep him out the rest of the season. At least if he has the surgery now the Yanks can look to a replacement like Mark Grudzielanek. But again, I don’t have any background in medicine, so I have no idea what the right call is here.

If you’re looking for something to do, you can listen to the RAB Radio Show. Almost immediately after we posted it, the news of no surgery came across the wires, so it kind of got buried. I’ll probably be sleeping not long after this thread goes up. Gotta rest up. Headed to see Watchmen in iMax at 4 in the morning. I expect to be utterly disappointed, as the comic blew me away. Doesn’t mean I’m not going to see it, though.

So this is your open thread for the night, where you can discuss whatever. Beat each other up if that’s your prerogative; I don’t care.

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On a day filled with some bad and not-as-bad news about Alex Rodriguez, the Yanks and their fans could have used a good game. Instead, they got a nine-inning bullpen effort after Joba Chamberlain couldn’t get out of the first inning.

Of course, it’s Spring Training, and results do not matter. Apparently, the Yanks’ youngster had some mechanical troubles today but felt fine. Early on in March, pitchers are apt to be out of sync. That said, the line — 0 IP, 1 H, 5 ER, 4 BB, 0 K — is ugly, and Jonathan Albaladejo didn’t help by allowing all of his inherited runners to score.

In the end, though, Albaladejo, Kei Igawa, Brian Bruney, Christian Garcia and J.B. Cox acquitted themselves well. The group went 9 innings and allowed just one earned run and five hits. Albaladejo went two innings and gave up a run on three hits and two walks. Bruney, the only sure-thing Major Leaguer in the bunch, struck out two in one inning of work.

On the other side of the ball, the punchless Yanks’ offense managed just four hits and no runs. The highlight — if you can call it that of the day was Nick Swisher‘s drawing two walks. Thrilling.

The Yanks, still winless in March, will face the Braves tomorrow night at 7:15 p.m. The game is not to be televised, but CC Sabathia will be making his pinstriped debut.

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  • No surgery for A-Rod

    PeteAbe has the word: A-Rod has a torn labrum and a cyst in his hip, but will not undergo surgery, as was reported this morning. They’ve drained the cyst, and hope that rest will heal the tear. Anyone think the Yankees brass had anything to do with the decision to not have surgery?

    Update by Ben (4:02 p.m.): PeteAbe has a little bit more info up right now. According to Brian Cashman, surgery would knock A-Rod out for four months. By pursuing the rest-and-rehab path, the Yanks are simply hoping A-Rod — like Chase Utley and Mike Lowell before him — can play through the pain. They have nothing to lose by delaying surgery. We could, however, argue that if surgery is inevitable, A-Rod’s return in July after four months off could energize the team. I think the Yanks just have too much riding on 2009 to risk it right now though. The team could change its mind before March is out.
    · (153) ·

Oh noes! A-Rod is hurt. This dominates the podcast talk. We discuss what this means for the team, how they can handle the batting order, and who will replace A-Rod in the field. The case for Mark Grudzielanek just got a lot stronger.

We do talk about some positives, though, including Phil Hughes‘s impressive outing from Tuesday. His fastball was spot on; Kevin Cash wasn’t even moving the glove. It took him a couple of attempts to finally get bite on the curve, but as we found out he’s throwing it more like a power curve this year. Last year he was going for more of a spike curve. And then there’s the change, which Hughes now throws like a splitter, which is what Edwar does. He had little command of that pitch, but it’s new. If that comes along, Hughes officially has a nasty arsenal.

Onto the podcast. It is available in a number of formats. You can download it here by right clicking on that link and selecting Save As. If you want to play it in your browser, just left click the link. You can also subscribe to the podcast feed, which will send it to you every Thursday. You can also subscribe in iTunes. Finally, we have the embedded audio player below.

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