Yankees update: A-Rod avoids surgery, Nick Johnson returns to club

Turns out, Alex Rodriguez won’t need that hip surgery after all. Shortly after admitting to steroid use in February, team doctors told Rodriguez to expect reconstructive surgery at the end of 2009 to repair his torn labrum. In a stroke of luck for both Rodriguez and the Yankees, he’s now escaped missing a potential ten weeks from the new season.

Rodriguez had surgery last March for torn cartilage and missed the first month of the season. At the time, Dr. Marc Philippon, who performed the operation, thought Rodriguez would need a more extensive procedure in the offseason.

But Philippon recently examined Rodriguez, and an MRI test helped show the three-time MVP had properly healed. The doctor told A-Rod that he was A-OK on Monday.

Otherwise, Rodriguez probably would’ve been “having surgery today,” he said at a Yankee Stadium news conference to formally introduce Curtis Granderson.

The conspiracy theorist in me wonders if he was every really hurt. I’ve never heard of an athlete avoiding surgery on a torn labrum. Remember, Mike Lowell had the same problem. He desperately needed the surgery.

In other news, slugger Nick Johnson is returning to the Yankees after agreeing to a one-year, $5.5 million contract. Johnson began his career with the team in 2001.

Johnson must pass a physical for the agreement to be finalized. He can earn about $1 million more in performance bonuses next year, and the deal includes a 2011 mutual option for at least $5.5 million with possible escalators.

Johnson, a first baseman, will become replace Matsui as the Yankees’ DH and Melky Cabrera appears likely to take over from Damon in left. Johnson hit a combined .291 for Washington and Florida last season with eight homers, 62 RBIs, 99 walks, a .426 on-base percentage and a .405 slugging percentage. He figures to bat second for the Yankees behind Derek Jeter.

Nick Johnson, really? The guy has been hurt most of his career. The Yankees should have stuck with Hideki Matsui, a sure bet who signed with the Angels for only half a million more than what Johnson will receive.

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Alex Rodriguez to make season debut on Friday

Unless he suffers a setback during the next two days, Alex Rodriguez is on track to make his season debut for the Yankees on Friday against the Orioles.

Alex Rodriguez is scheduled to play another extended spring training game in Florida today. And while the Yankees are playing super-secret with their plans for the third baseman, it sounds like he’s headed for Baltimore on Friday.

Joe Girardi said he and Rodriguez discussed a scenario where A-Rod would play today, rest tomorrow and then join the Yankees. Or he could play two more games in Florida.
Regardless, it looks like Rodriguez will be back a full week earlier than predicted.

It’ll be interesting to see how A-Fraud does in his return because he didn’t opt to have full surgery, just hybrid surgery that (to my understanding) didn’t correct the entire issue but would allow him to play this season. Considering he didn’t have full corrective surgery, will he have issues fielding, diving or getting full range of motion when he swings? Is he doing more damage to the hip by rushing back?

Time will tell if he can bounce back right away or if it’ll take him a couple months before recovers (if he can, that is). Either way, Yankee fans have to be ecstatic about his return, especially considering the club just placed catcher Jorge Posada on the DL and they need A-Fraud’s bat.

A-Rod to be back by April?

Yankees’ third basemen Alex Rodriguez was able to take a couple of light swings on Sunday for the first time since his hip surgery and is now eyeing an April return to the lineup.

Alex RodriguezThe Yankees believe A-Rod could be back in their lineup in mid-May. When Rodriguez initially elected to have surgery, his return was projected in 6-9 weeks, meaning he could also be back as soon as late April. Long said he “wouldn’t be surprised” if Rodriguez returned at the end of April or early May.

Long said he planned to see Rodriguez in Tampa when the Yankees are in St. Petersburg, April13-15, to play the Rays. At that point, A-Rod likely will be doing his rehab workouts at the Yanks’ minor-league complex near Steinbrenner Field, the Daily News reported.

All HGH jokes/allegations aside, A-Rod has always been a fast healer so this news shouldn’t surprise anyone. But the Yankees should still be cautious with his return. You don’t want to rush him onto the field only to have him suffer a setback and have to return to the DL.

Also, the sooner he comes back, the sooner the media frenzy starts again in terms of his performance-enhancing drug use. And allegations will certainly fly about his quick recovery from hip surgery if he does come back as early as April.

Alex Rodriguez has hip surgery, out until May

2009 hasn’t started real well for A-Rod.

Alex RodriguezAlex Rodriguez’s troublesome right hip requires immediate surgery, the third baseman’s brother told LasMayores.com, MLB.com’s Spanish-language Web site.

Rodriguez’s brother, Joe Dunand, said that Rodriguez will have the operation performed on Monday in Vail, Colo., by Dr. Marc Philippon. Dunand said it was his understanding that the recovery time for such a surgery is 10 weeks.

The surgery would nix Rodriguez’s hopes of playing for the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic and possibly cause him to miss part of the regular season if Dunand is correct and Rodriguez has the procedure done.

Hmm, I guess steroids have no bearing on hip health…

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