Thursday, March 5, 2009

Yanks hold breath on latest A-Rod calamity

When I woke up this morning and saw that Alex Rodriguez's hip issue was more serious than initially believed, my immediate thought was naturally, "Dear God! Who is going to play third for the Dominicans in the WBC?" Well ... no, that's not true at all. My actual thought was, "Oh sweet Lord! My heart goes out to those poor souls who already drafted A-Rod in their fantasy leagues."

I'm lying again, but to be fair, discussion involving lying and A-Rod should be treated as the rule rather than the exception at this point. What I was really thinking was, "We're screwed." I think these last seven seasons have made me somewhat of a pessimist.

There are different reports flying around the 'net this afternoon, none of which are particularly cheery. and are reporting that A-Rod will undergo surgery for a torn labrum in his hip and will be out up to 10 weeks. PeteAbe posted on his blog that rest and rehab will be the plan, with the hope A-Rod can get through the season without going under the knife. Surgery could sideline the slugger four months, according to Abraham. Clearly there is some misinformation out there right now, or speculation passing as news, but I'm sure we'll have a clearer picture in the coming hours. At any rate, everything we're hearing is scary for the Yankees.

The most obvious question here is why it took until March 5 for this injury to be discovered. If your $275 million third baseman reported stiffness as far back as last season, why did it take until a month before opening day to see a specialist?

If Rodriguez does end up missing time, the Yankees will be put in an immediate bind. As I wrote last month, the Yankees have been woefully slow starters for the better part of the last five seasons, so losing their top run-producer could skew toward bad times. The thought of Cody Ransom getting 125 at-bats for the team is simply terrifying.

The glass-half-full viewpoint is as follows: Though a career .259 hitter in April, you still have Mark Teixeira in the three-hole. And while also known to be a slow starter, Robinson Cano is a very strong candidate to have a bounce back season. Jorge Posada is back as well. If the rest of the team delivers representative numbers, the Bombers may potentially whether the storm.

Nothing is guaranteed, however. When a quad injury forced A-Rod out of the lineup for an extended stretch last May, the Yankees' offense was downright woeful in his absence. Phillies second baseman Chase Utley played through a similar injury last season, and it sapped the pop right out of his bat. We're still waiting to hear hard news on the injury, but the thought of A-Rod trying to play six months on a bum hip doesn't lend itself to MVP talk.

So, just doing a little housekeeping here, since the beginning of last season, A-Rod blew out his quad, had an affair with Madonna, divorced his wife, admitted to steroid use, held a really awkward press conference, drove around Tampa with the cousin who smuggled in his steroids, hinted that he'd rather have Jose Reyes playing shortstop, and suffered a serious hip injury. On the bright side, we get him for another nine years after this.

Where have you gone Scott Brosius? A universe turns its lonely eyes to you.

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