The New York Yankees’ third baseman said Saturday that not only are plans set for him to have surgery on his left hip in mid-January, but that he’s also eager to embrace the challenge of coming back from both the operation and an unbelievably abysmal finish to last season. It’s expected that Rodriguez, who will be making his sixth trip to the disabled list in six seasons, could be sidelined until the All-Star break.
“I’m not concerned,” Rodriguez told The Associated Press. “I’m actually, in many ways, relieved that there’s something tangible that we can go fix.”
Rodriguez had surgery on his right hip in 2009. He missed about the first month of the season and still finished with 30 home runs and 100 RBIs — and helped the Yankees win the World Series. This surgery is more complex, since it will repair not only a torn labrum but also a bone impingement and a cyst. The surgery is next month because it was determined he needed some time to strengthen the hip first.
“I am fully committed to a very hard road back,” Rodriguez said. “We’ve done it before in ’09, and it was a great result, both on a personal level and on a team level, more importantly. I take it as a great challenge, and I’m excited for the challenge.”
A 14-time All-Star and baseball’s priciest player at $275 million, Rodriguez batted .120 (3-for-25) with no RBIs in last season’s playoffs, including 0-for-18 with 12 strikeouts against right-handed pitchers. He originally thought he was having issues with the right hip again — he wasn’t — and it wasn’t until November that the issues within the left hip were detected.
Rodriguez finished this past regular season batting .272 with 18 home runs and 57 RBIs. He now has 647 career homers, fifth-most in baseball history and 13 shy of the No. 4 player on that list, Willie Mays.
Rodriguez was in Miami, the city he calls home, on Saturday to host a pair of events for children — his basketball tournament which he started a decade ago, and a toy giveaway at a Boys & Girls Club, where he was a member until getting drafted by the Seattle Mariners.
He addressed about 150 players at a breakfast honoring the eight basketball teams in the morning, telling them stories about his upbringing and earliest days as a student and athlete.