Results tagged ‘ Alex Rodriguez ’

Thursday’s camp notes: Youk “always a Red Sock”

Kevin Youkilis, David OrtizIt’s probably not the best way to endear yourself to a new fan base, but hey, let’s at least give Kevin Youkilis some points for honesty.

The new Yankee and former Red Sox third baseman briefly stopped by George M. Steinbrenner this afternoon to check out his locker assignment and drop off a few items, spotting his No. 36 jersey hanging alongside a few pairs of pinstriped pants.

This is the new reality for Youkilis, who is clean-shaven to satisfy team regulations and sounded like a Yankee when he said that he’s just here to “go out there every day and play hard and try to win a World Series.”

Oh, but nothing in the fine print of his one-year, $12 million deal with the Yankees mandated that he must put his Red Sox history through the shredder, and so Youkilis made it clear that part of him will always belong in Boston.

“To negate all the years I played for the Boston Red Sox and all the tradition, you look at all the stuff I have piled up at my house and to say I’d just throw it out the window — it’s not true,” Youkilis said. “I’ll always be a Red Sock.”

That quote won’t win Youkilis many friends among a fan base that, judging by early Internet reaction, seems to be unconvinced about his addition. But here’s what might win them over: if Youkilis is healthy and productive for New York, the same blue-collar qualities that made Youkilis such a frustrating opponent over the years are exactly what Yankees fans have been asking for.

Think about it — how many times have we heard the talk-radio rants that the Yankees need more players with Paul O’Neill’s brand of intensity, the unbridled fury it takes to assault a bat rack or water cooler without a second thought about the millions watching at home? Youkilis can be that guy. In other words…

“I’ll never be Alex Rodriguez,” Youkilis said. “I mean, Alex Rodriguez is one of the best hitters of all-time. I’m not going to be that same guy. But I can be a good Major League player who can help the team win, and that’s all you’ve got to do.”

Here’s some more of Thursday’s notes and quotes from Tampa:

  • Newly acquired right-hander Shawn Kelley is expected to join the team shortly after being traded by the Mariners on Wednesday evening. Kelley is a power arm with a plus slider and figures to compete with Cody Eppley for a bullpen role. He has a Minor League option remaining, so he could also start the year at Triple-A.
  • Don’t leave the lights on for Alex Rodriguez here in Tampa; Brian Cashman said that A-Rod will not join the Yankees at any time this spring. He’s supposed to arrive in New York tomorrow from Miami to continue his rehab, so it sounds like the earliest anyone might see him around the ballpark is April 1 against the Red Sox.
  • As we discussed earlier on the blog, Michael Pineda has progressed to throwing full mound sessions and the Yankees are optimistic that he could be helping at the big league level in late May or June. A lot can happen between now and then, and setbacks are an expected part of the process, but he’s on track so far. Pineda will start throwing to hitters in March, but isn’t expected to pitch in any Spring Training games.
  • Dellin Betances took a step backward last season, but the Yankees haven’t given up hope on the hulking right-hander, hoping that a good showing in the Arizona Fall League can right his ship. Cashman said that the power, physicality and stuff are all there for Betances. One glaring problem has been fastball command, which is why Betances found himself demoted to Double-A Trenton last year.
  • Ivan Nova said he doesn’t know why his strikeout rate jumped to 8.1 per nine innings last season after he posted 5.3 strikeouts per nine innings in 2011. He said he was just trying to pitch his game, not worrying about strikeouts. The number that still bothered Nova was his 5.02 ERA; the Yankees have scored him plenty of runs, but that’s too many to ask.
  • Funny note from Girardi, who was recounting the uncomfortable moment he had to tell Nova that they were leaving him off the playoff rosters last year: “It’s not like he flipped my desk over or I felt threatened, but I could see the disappointment. I have a pretty big desk.”

Spring is here: Yankees pitchers and catchers report

George M. Steinbrenner Field

George M. Steinbrenner Field is open for business, and while we’re still waiting to hear the first official crack of the bat, these words should be enough to warm your afternoon wherever you are — Yankees pitchers and catchers reported to Tampa today.

CC Sabathia meets the media in the Yankees dugout on Tuesday.

CC Sabathia meets the media in the Yankees dugout on Tuesday.

The players went through the usual gauntlet of physical tests and checked out their locker assignments – with 84 names on the invited list, the Yankees have had to build a few new ones in the clubhouse – before heading out for the day. The real work begins tomorrow, with the first official workout for pitchers and catchers.

“Everybody talked about the guys that we didn’t sign, but talk about the guys we have coming back,” Yankees ace CC Sabathia said. “Hiro (Hiroki Kuroda) coming back, Andy (Pettitte) coming back, we’ll get Mo (Mariano Rivera) back for a full year. I think we already had the pieces here in place to compete and try to win a championship. We’ll just go with what we’ve got.”

Yankees manager Joe Girardi held his first press conference of the spring, and the big news was again about Alex Rodriguez, as Girardi revealed that A-Rod will not be reporting to camp with the Yankees’ position players.

Instead, Rodriguez will be continuing his rehab in New York, which should limit some of the potential distractions that were expected to go along with MLB’s investigation of the Biogenesis case.

Girardi said that he believes the Yankees “could win 95 games and get to the World Series,” and said that “if other clubs want to think we’re vulnerable, that’s OK, but I love the character in that room and the way they find ways to win games.”

Want video? You got it.

Here are some of the other quick hits from Girardi’s session with the press:

  • Girardi is not concerned about the health of Derek Jeter or Mariano Rivera. He is, however, curious how the Yankees will find their designated hitter against right-handed pitching. Eduardo Nunez, Matt Diaz and Juan Rivera appear to be the early options.
  • Girardi called the spring “a test” for Francisco Cervelli, who must block out the distraction of the Biogenesis investigation while also competing for the Opening Day catcher job.
  • Austin Romine should be able to help the Yankees at some point during the season, Girardi said, but he doesn’t know exactly when. Romine said that he intends to make the roster out of Spring Training, but the Yankees have him ticketed for Triple-A right now.
  • Girardi said Cervelli, Stewart and Romine should be able to be as good as Russell Martin was defensively.
  • Michael Pineda is throwing in camp, but Girardi said he doesn’t expect to see him in a game this spring. The Yankees have been saying that Pineda’s best case scenario is to pitch in the big leagues by May or June.
  • Girardi said he’s not worried about his lame duck status as the Yankees’ manager, saying that he’s only concerned with the next 162 games and getting to the World Series. The Yankees will likely hold off until after the season to open contract talks with Girardi.

A-Rod receives good news after surgery

Alex RodriguezMore information from Alex Rodriguez’s hip surgery is trickling out, and there are positive signs for him and the Yankees.

A person familiar with the diagnosis told The Associated Press that A-Rod was found to have minimal cartilage damage in his left hip during Wednesday’s procedure, a detail that the Yankees did not make public in their post-surgery statement.

Dr. Bryan Kelly said on a Jan. 8 conference call that there were three main areas he’d focus on: reattaching A-Rod’s torn labrum, reshaping the bone to allow better mechanics, and repairing as much cartilage damage as possible.

“One thing is certain: the less permanent damage you have to the cartilage, the greater the probability is for return to pre-injury level of play,” Kelly said.

A-Rod was discharged from the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York on Thursday and his recovery time is expected to be six months.

A-Rod, via Facebook: “Surgery went well!”

736546_516174725080808_248109100_oWe know that Alex Rodriguez had arthroscopic left hip surgery yesterday, but there’s an interesting side note in the way that he has apparently embraced social media. The Yankees third baseman posted the accompanying photo of himself on Facebook with the caption, “Surgery went well! The road to recovery officially begins … looking forward to the challenges ahead.”

The Yankees said that Rodriguez’s left hip surgery, performed by Dr. Bryan Kelly at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, went as expected and there were no complications. His expected recovery time is six months.

Before the procedure, A-Rod also posted a photo of himself walking through the halls of the hospital with the caption, “Thanks for all the prayers & well wishes. I’ll admit I’m a little nervous, but I’m in great hands.”

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Why the long delay for A-Rod’s surgery? Here’s the answer

Alex RodriguezI know you might be stunned by this, but I never attended medical school. The fact that I still get a little uneasy at the sight of a paper cut probably ruled that career path out very early for me.

Dr. Bryan Kelly of the Hospital for Special Surgery did, though, and since he’s going to be performing Alex Rodriguez’s left hip surgery, it’s probably better that we all let him do the talking on this one.

We now know that the date for A-Rod’s surgery is set for Jan. 16 in New York, and many have wondered why there has been such a delay in getting him to the operating table, considering the injury affected him in the playoffs and was diagnosed in November.

The question was asked on a conference call Kelly and the Yankees held tonight. Like Mariano Rivera following his torn ACL in May, Rodriguez has been told to undergo four to six weeks of “pre-hab” strengthening exercises to prepare for surgery. Here’s Kelly offering some background on that:

“The easiest analogy is an ACL tear. If someone ruptures their ACL, the vast majority of orthopedic surgeons – and I’d say this is pretty much the standard of care – is to not operate during the acute injury phase. There’s a lot of inflammation, there’s a lot of bleeding in the joint, there’s a reduction in motion, and anytime there’s bleeding or injuries in a joint, there’s a problem that occurs in the body called arthrogenic pain inhibition which means that pain from the joint shuts down the muscles around it.

“Operating in an environment where there’s a lot of inflammation, a lot of swelling that results in limitations in motion affecting muscular shutdown, really compromises the ability of somebody to recover at a fast rate. When we go to the hip, the same exact principles apply. If you’re operating in an environment where there’s a lot of inflammation, a lot of compensatory shutdown of the muscles secondary to this mechanical problem, then operating earlier actually will frequently result in a more prolonged recovery afterwards because it takes longer for the muscles to respond and recover from the surgery.”

“So the ultimate issue is not, let’s do surgery as soon as possible, but what’s the best strategy to get somebody back to full function the fastest?”

And that explains the “pre-hab.” But there’s more, because with A-Rod, the doctors have also had to consider his 2009 surgery on the right hip and how this new procedure will play into that.

“The second thing is that Alex’s case is complicated by the fact that he has a hip that has already undergone surgery that has been successful. During the immediate post-operative period of time, he’s going to really have to rely on his right hip because there’s a period of protected weight bearing that can last anywhere from 10 days to four weeks, depending on how strong the muscle is going into it.

“We want to minimize the amount of time he’s going to spend relying on his right hip, because the last thing we want to do is compromise the thus-far successfully repaired right hip. He’s got a lot of complicating factors that make timing an issue.”

There you go; hopefully that clears some of the questions up. I’ll be going into more detail about other parts of the two-hour procedure tonight on yankees.com, but here’s one more thing to note:

Kelly’s best guess is that Rodriguez will be back in the Yankees lineup around the All-Star break, but there’s no way to tell for sure. It could be sooner and it could take longer because every patient is different.

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