Alex Rodriguez to have hip surgery

Updated: December 4, 2012, 7:19 AM ET
By Andrew Marchand | ESPNNewYork.com

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Alex Rodriguez is expected to miss most of the first half of the 2013 season because of a second hip surgery that is expected to take place in January.

The New York Yankees announced in a statement Monday afternoon that their third baseman will have arthroscopic surgery on his left hip to "repair a torn labrum, bone impingement and the correction of a cyst." The recovery time for the surgery is four to six months, the team said.

"It's a significant blow," Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said. "But we've dealt with significant blows and, hopefully, we'll be able to deal with this one, as well."

After four to six weeks of pre-rehabilitation, he will have the surgery, which will be performed by Dr. Bryan Kelly at The Hospital for Special Surgery in New York. In 2009, Rodriguez had his right hip repaired.

Rodriguez, who will turn 38 during next season, is owed $114 million on his current contract through 2017, excluding potential milestone home run bonuses.

The Yankees said the surgery on his left hip "will be similar but not identical" to the procedure he had in 2009 on his right hip.

During the playoffs, Rodriguez originally complained of hip issues.

The initial time Joe Girardi pinch-hit for Rodriguez in the posteason, Game 3 of the ALDS against the Orioles, A-Rod revealed he thought his surgically repaired right hip was not right.

"'I think my right hip needs to be looked at,'" Cashman said Rodriguez told Girardi. "'I just don't feel like I'm firing on all cylinders,' something to that effect. No complaint of pain or anything of that nature."

Rodriguez only had an MRI on his right hip, which came out clean.

During a recent checkup, however, Dr. Marc Philippon, the surgeon who performed the original procedure on Rodriguez's torn labrum, discovered the new injury in his left hip. The Yankees favor Rodriguez working with Dr. Kelly this time so the rehab can take place in New York instead of Colorado, where Dr. Philippon is located.

The hip injury could help to explain Rodriguez's 0-for-18 performance with 12 strikeouts in the playoffs. Rodriguez ended up being benched.

"Both doctors believe that there is a very strong possibility that Rodriguez's hip condition may have had a negative effect on his performance during the latter stages of the season and the playoffs," the Yankees said.

The surgery is not expected to be career-threatening.

"I think Alex has a lot of peace of mind because that was a very difficult time for him," Cashman said. "Separately, it was a difficult time for us as a team because we didn't perform collectively in that playoff on the offensive side. The pitching did their job, the offense didn't. There was a lot of players involved; Alex took the brunt of it, and I think he's got some peace of mind now having an explanation of why."

The first hip injury was diagnosed shortly after Rodriguez admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs in 2009. He finished off that season with an epic October and his first World Series ring.

Rodriguez finished the 2012 season with a .272 average, 18 homers and 57 RBIs in 122 games. His OPS was .783, which was the lowest since his first full season back in 1995.

"I do think that it's a likely scenario that the struggles we saw in September and in October are more likely than not related to this issue," Cashman said. "Clearly Alex was dealing with an issue that although he might be asymptomatic, but the lower half and the way the mechanisms work, he wasn't firing on all cylinders. There was times that we thought watching him that he was all arms and no legs, but again, there was no complaints, no pain, and then actually in the playoffs when he got pinch-hit for, he did have a complaint that he felt his right hip wasn't working right, and that was all clear."

The Yankees likely will look to add some insurance for the left side of the infield. Shortstop Derek Jeter is expected to be limited in spring training due to his fractured ankle, as well. Cashman has said that Jeter should be ready for Opening Day.

Cashman's priority so far this offseason has been getting his pitching staff in order. The infield likely will quickly become a focus. On the current roster, Jayson Nix and Eduardo Nunez are possibilities to play on the left side. Cashman said he didn't look at Nunez as a third baseman.

ESPN The Magazine's Buster Olney and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Andrew Marchand is a senior writer for ESPNNewYork. He also regularly contributes to SportsCenter, Baseball Tonight, ESPNews, ESPN New York 98.7 FM and ESPN Radio. He joined ESPN in 2007 after nine years at the New York Post. Follow Andrew on Twitter »

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