Why I Think ARod Might Return in Mid-April
One day he was hitting home runs in Cactus League games, and the next a mysterious ailment was found:
Here's the string up updates around that time:
Rodriguez homered and walked twice in his Grapefruit League debut on Wednesday. The blast came against Jays prospect Ricky Romero, while Rodriguez actually received a standing ovation for his efforts from some of the Yankees fans in attendance. Rodriguez admitted that the pressure on Wednesday wasn't much of a test in comparison to the more hostile environments he'll be in once the regular season begins.
Rodriguez was replaced by a pinch runner in the fifth inning of Sunday's spring training game, potentially to attend a meeting with MLB officials to discuss his admitted steroid use, the Associated Press reports. League officials want to speak to A-Rod about his cousin who he said injected with a banned substance known as "boli." He still plans to join the Dominican Republic team for World Baseball Classic preparations on Monday morning.
Rodriguez will fly to Colorado to visit a specialist regarding the cyst that was recently discovered in his hip, the Associated Press reports. As a result, his status for the World Baseball Classic is now up in the air. This is the first we've heard of any sort of hip issue for Rodriguez, so it's unclear if it's anything that might put his Opening Day status in doubt or sideline him for any portion of the regular season.
Rodriguez will reportedly undergo hip surgery and is expected to be out until May, ESPN reports. Let's just say this hasn't been A-Rod's best year so far and leave it at that. That should take him from the top of the 3B cheat sheets - and many overall hitters lists - down several spots. The initial estimate is a 10-week absence.
The injury effectively removed ARod from the spotlight, cast him in a more sympathetic light (after all, it's poor taste to harass the injured guy while he's trying to rehab) and restored order to the Yankees camp by eliminating the media circus. In other words, it couldn't have come at a better time.
The other thing is that no one knows what to look for as ARod recovers from a hip cyst. If he had sprained his ankle, Stephania Bell or Jim Russo might be able to tell if he was faking it - (why does he limp only when running the bases, but not while playing the field, e.g.). But a hip cyst - no one even knows what that is.
I'm not alleging that the injury was fabricated, or that he didn't have surgery. Only that the severity of the condition might have been exaggerated, the operation might have been extremely routine and non-invasive - just a quick scope, and ARod might only need a few weeks of rehab.
The Yankees can then spin it as ARod being so committed to the team that he worked like a madman to get back well before the timetable - even against the advice of his "doctors".
It makes perfect sense - lose ARod for two weeks in order to get the press off his back and out of the way, and start to rebuild his image while taking care of a minor medical problem that probably could have waited until after the season.
I'm not saying this is definitely the case - but I can't be the only one who wondered about the timing of this mysterious injury with no known cause.