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Rick Carpiniello and Sam Borden debate the the hottest topics in sports

Question #166: Should the Yankees make A-Rod have the surgery now?


Let me start by saying this: I’m not a doctor. In fact, I’m very much not a doctor, so everything I write on here is based on the copious reporting (which includes quotes from people who are, in fact, doctors) that’s been done on Alex Rodriguez and his right hip issues.

Here’s what I know to be the situation: A-Rod has several problems with his hip that will, at some point, almost certainly require surgery to fix. These aren’t problems that just go away. And, depending on the severity of the surgery, A-Rod will need somewhere between six weeks and four months to recover. Based on what Brian Cashman has said, it’s likely to be closer to the longer end of that range.

At this point, the Yankees have opted to have A-Rod rest and rehab his hip, in the hope that he will be able to make it through this season and then have the procedure next winter. Their other choice, obviously, is to do the procedure now and thus put A-Rod on the sideline for the majority of this season.

Thus, the question: Are the Yankees making the right choice by having A-Rod try to play? Or should he just have the surgery now and get it over with?

My take is that this is a mistake by the Yankees. I understand their logic for doing it – something I touch on in my column on the situation today – but I think it’s misguided. There are too many things that could go wrong and, for me, not enough of a chance that things will break just the way the Yankees need for it to go right.

If A-Rod has the surgery now, the Yankees have a month to figure out a replacement. Whether it’s a free agent (Mark Grudzialanek?) or a trade (Chone Figgins? Brandon Inge?) or a – gasp! – position switch (dare I say it: Derek Jeter???), the Yankees dictate what happens instead of waiting to be dictated to. Plus, there’s also the chance A-Rod recovers quickly and can make it back in time to choke it up in Sept/Oct, just like usual.

The way the Yanks are doing it now, they’re waiting on pins and needles. They’re hoping a guy who will now be taking it easy during spring training will last 162 games and manage not to tweak his hip while he’s hitting, running, fielding, throwing and sliding. And then if he does, and needs the surgery sooner, the Yanks will have even less time to react.

I understand the pressure is on big time this year. On everyone from the top on down. But I think this is a mistake. The Yankees are stuck with A-Rod for a long, long time. They can’t control that. The best thing they could do is control as much of this situation as they possibly can.


 Then why have I been calling you Dr. Borden and trying to get an appointment the last few months?

Got to agree with you there, doc. If the natural process—rest and rehab—is going to take six weeks or so, and then the possibility still exists that surgery and a four-month ordeal will still be necessary, then you do the surgery now.

Obviously we don’t have all the information we need to make that decision, such as: What are the chances the rest-and-rehab will actually work? And will A-Rod be 100 percent if it does? And what are the chances of it recurring? 

I just know that if I have a $275 million asset for the next nine years, I’m willing to sacrifice four months for it to be as close to 100 percent as possible for the remaining eight-plus seasons. If the Yankees are worried about not having their cleanup hitter because they are opening a new stadium, or worried that they HAVE TO make the playoffs after last season’s disaster, and neglecting A-Rod’s future to a degree just to calm those worries, then that’s a mistake.

They should be able to get by without a Hall of Famer or perennial all-star at one position for a little while. Most teams manage to do that, right? Cody Ransom? Why not? They lived without Jeter for a while last year, and without A-Rod for a while.

But, no, I don’t see Jeter moving anywhere in the near future, surely not third base.

This entry was posted on Friday, March 6th, 2009 at 7:35 am by Sam Borden. |
Category: 1


2 Responses to “Question #166: Should the Yankees make A-Rod have the surgery now?”

  1. gnome

    one could argue that options might be cheaper at the trade deadline as the economic impact causes teams to dump salaries and players….however, i am in total agreement here. get the surgery, grab a 3rd baseman, and maybe they need to find a bat, matsui/posada arent going to be 3/4 hitters to compliment tex…

  2. sunny615

    day late/dollar short, but i think the yanks are making the right choice doing the minor surgery now and playing out the season and then the full surgery once the season is over. They still need to sign a back up to give arod additional time off from time to time. I don’t think it should be rolen or anyone that expensive, nor should it be someone like uggla who’s got way too much time left on their contract. Teahan sounds about right or worse comes to worse even eric duncan… whoa. Gave myself a migraine right there.

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Rick Carpiniello and Sam Borden debate the hottest topics in sports.


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About the author
Sam BordenSam Borden grew up in Larchmont, graduated from Mamaroneck High School and has spent all 29 years of his life following the local sports scene. The drama of sports has always fascinated him, and his columns are designed to take a side or tell a story. The best days are the ones where he gets to do both.
Rick CarpinielloRick Carpiniello grew up in lower Westchester and began working in The Journal News' sports department (back when it was The Reporter Dispatch and eight other newspapers) in October of 1977 after a year of covering high school sports as a stringer. For more than 20 years he covered the New York Rangers and the National Hockey League. Carpiniello has been writing columns on everything from local sports to the big leagues since 2002.
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