How Short Will The Yankee Line-Up Be Now?
The news today is that New York Yankee third baseman, Alex Rodriguez, will have surgery to remove a cyst from his hip.
It is unclear when the surgery will be. But reports are that Rodriguez will be out until May.
Surgery to the hip obviously will curtail many of the conditioning activities that A-Rod typically would have done.
It also will mean that he will not be able to swing a bat until he is cleared by doctors to do that.
No one could possibly determine at this time how much time Rodriguez will need to recover, to condition and to get his swing back.
New York faces a brutal schedule in April with 23 games in twenty-five days.
It is unclear who will fill in for Rodriguez while he is rehabbing.
Many have speculated that the most likely reserve infielder would be Cody Ransom who saw some action with New York last season and can play all four positions.
Another possibility is Angel Berroa, signed as a free agent in the off season.
But neither cannot replace A-Rod's offensive production.
The Yankee line-up already had several question marks.
Catcher, Jorge Posada, is returning from shouler surgery that ended his season early in 2008 and has not yet caught a Spring Training game.
Posada experienced a small set back when he felt pain in the shoulder on Saturday while stretching before batting practice.
He was scratched from the line up against the Twins when he had planned to be the DH, as he has in each game he has played this spring. He has since appeared to be fine.
General Manager, Brian Cashman, has said on more than one occasion that Posada cannot be expected to catch more than 110 games this year.
This most likely means that Jose Molina will play in at least fifty games. And with Molina playing either Posada or regular DH, Hideki Matsui will be sitting. This could be the case for six or more of the April games.
Matsui also has not played yet because he is rehabbing from knee surgery. It is believed he will be ready by opening day, but no one can be clear yet what his condition will be.
Finally, there is uncertainty in center field. Brett Gardner is competing for the job and has looked very good this spring.
But in the time Gardner played last year he hit only .228. He has not yet shown a consistent ability to get on base.
The Yankee line-up for at least the first month could look like this:
LF - Johnny Damon
SS- Derek Jeter
1B - Mark Teixeira
RF - Xavier Nady
2B - Robinson Cano
C - Jorge Posada
DH - Hideki Matsui
3B - Cody Ransom / Angel Berroa
CF - Brett Gardner
But on the days Posada cannot catch, Molina would then probably become the 8th hitter moving Ransom up to hit in the seven hole.
The last three places in that batting order are not going to instill fear in any pitcher.
All projections of the Yankees being headed to their 27th title are very premature.
The injury to Rodriguez is a reminder to all baseball fans how fickle the baseball gods can be.
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