Brian Cashman addressed the reports that Alex Rodriguez needed hip surgery on Thursday afternoon. While A-Rod has a torn labrum and cyst in his right hip, he will not undergo surgery immediately and will instead try rest and rehab to treat the injury.
The cyst, described as quite large according to Peter Abraham of the LoHud Yankees Blog, was drained on Wednesday. Surgery, and Cashman admitted that Rodriguez will eventually need surgery, would knock Rodriguez out of the lineup for four months, not the 10 weeks reported earlier in the day. Mike Lowell of the Red Sox and Chase Utley of the Phillies each had surgery to repair torn hip labrums recently, and played through the pain before surgery.
The inital belief that A-Rod would have surgery were fueled by Joe Dunand, Rodriguez's older brother. Dunard told ESPNdeportes.com that his brother needs surgery to remove the cyst.
"It's a big blow for the whole family. Alex is destroyed," Dunand said. "We were all very excited to see him play with the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic. But the most important thing is to have a successful surgery so that Alex may continue his career."
The approach is fraught with risk. The Yankees are obviously hoping that resting A-Rod now will enable him to play through the season and they'll trade the occasional day off to avoid a long-term absence. That makes sense, unless A-Rod winds up needing the surgery in mid-May and then you've lost him for the entire season. Lowell's play was seriously affected by his injury as last season wound down, so the idea of A-Rod making it through October is a pretty optimistic one.
They could be using the rest and rehab as a smoke screen for a trade to bring in a replacement, with A-Rod having the surgery a bit later in March. They certainly have chips to use in a deal, although it's not clear where they'd be looking at the moment. They couldn't replace A-Rod's production, but if he isn't in the middle of the lineup the Yankees would have serious issues scoring runs.
It still remains to be explained why the Yankees, aware that A-Rod was having hip issues that affected his swing, were so willing to just go along until Spring Training was already underway. It appears to be a pretty cavalier approach to take with a player as integral to the team's success as Rodriguez.