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Some bad news for Yankees fans

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Some bad news for Yankees fans

From Comcast SportsNetNASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Alex Rodriguez will start the season in what's become a familiar place: the disabled list.The New York Yankees said Monday the third baseman will have surgery on his left hip, an injury that could sideline him until the All-Star break and may explain his spectacularly poor performance during the playoffs."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."A 14-time All-Star and baseball's priciest player at 275 million, Rodriguez has a torn labrum, bone impingement and a cyst. He will need four to six weeks of physical therapy to strengthen the hip before surgery, and the team anticipates he will be sidelined four to six months after the operation.This will be Rodriguez's sixth trip to the disabled list in six seasons. A-Rod had right hip surgery on March 9, 2009, and returned that May 8."It is a more complicated surgery with a longer recovery time because there is a little bit more that needs to be done," Cashman said, citing the bone impingement. "I don't think it's age related. Butt at the same time, the older you are, the slower you're going to recover regardless. But the bottom line and the message I've been receiving is that this is a solvable issue."Rodriguez, who turns 38 in July, complained to manager Joe Girardi of a problem with his right hip the night Raul Ibanez pinch hit for him -- and hit a tying ninth-inning home run -- against Baltimore during Game 3 of the AL division series in October. He went to New York-Presbyterian Hospital's emergency room and was checked out then."Up to this point, there was no complaints of any nature at all from his hip, or anything really," Cashman said. "At that point Joe went to Alex in the dugout and said, I'm going to pinch hit for you and we're going to pinch hit Ibanez,' and Alex said to Joe at that moment, OK,' he said, I've got to talk to you about something. I think my right hip needs to be looked at. I just don't feel like I'm firing on all cylinders.'"Cashman said the test on the right hip "was clean" and the left hip was not examined."I can tell you if a patient shows up in the emergency room with a complaint, they're going to focus on where the complaint is, not something else," he said.Rodriguez, owed 114 million by New York over the next five years, remained a shell of his former self on the field. He was benched in three of nine postseason games and pinch hit for in three others. He batted .120 (3 for 25) with no RBIs in the playoffs, including 0 for 18 with 12 strikeouts against right-handed pitchers.A-Rod broke his left hand when he was hit by a pitch from Seattle's Felix Hernandez on July 24. He returned Sept. 3 and hit .195 with two homers and six RBIs over the final month of the regular season.Cashman said Rodriguez's left hip injury was detected last month when he had an annual physical in Colorado with Dr. Marc Philippon, who operated on the right hip 3 1-2 years ago. Rodriguez got a second opinion from Dr. Bryan Kelly of New York's Hospital for Special Surgery, who will operate on A-Rod next month, and the injury was made public Monday by the New York Post.Cashman said "they're not your typical injuries" but wouldn't speculate whether they are related to steroids use. Rodriguez admitted in 2009 that he used steroids while with the Texas Rangers from 2001-03."It doesn't matter what I wonder," Cashman said.With Derek Jeter, who turns 39 in June, coming off surgery to repair a broken ankle, the left side of the Yankees' infield could be even more of a defensive problem.Jeter expects to be ready for opening day. Eric Chavez, who filled in for Rodriguez for parts of the last two seasons, is a free agent and Cashman said there are few options on the market.Rodriguez had a strained quadriceps in 2008, the hip surgery in 2009, a strained calf in 2010, knee surgery in 2011 and the broken hand this year. While he is fifth on the career list with 647 home runs, he had just 34 the last two seasons."When he's healthy -- obviously at one point he was spectacular," Cashman said. "One player doesn't make a team, and so we have a full roster of guys plus our farm system behind that that's going to have to fill in. We've done it before."NOTES:Toronto claimed C Eli Whiteside off waivers from the Yankees, who claimed him from San Francisco last month.

How should Red Sox handle Chris Sale's pursuit of Pedro Martinez's strikeout record?

How should Red Sox handle Chris Sale's pursuit of Pedro Martinez's strikeout record?

BALTIMORE — Baseball records are so precise. When to pursue them, when to value them even if minor risk is involved, is not nearly as clear cut.

The Red Sox, Chris Sale and John Farrell have stumbled upon that grey area, and it will continue to play out in the final two weeks of the regular season.

Sale reached a tremendous milestone on Wednesday night, becoming the 14th different pitcher in major league history to reach 300 strikeouts in a single season. No one else has done it in the American League this century. Clayton Kershaw was the last to get there in the National League two years ago.

“It was really fun,” Sale said of having his family on hand. “My wife, both my boys are here, my mother-in-law. Being able to run out and get a big hug from him and my wife and everybody — it was special having them here for something like this. … I’ll spend a little time with them before we head to Cincinnati.”

Now, there’s another mark ahead of Sale: Pedro Martinez’s single-season club record of 313. And the pursuit of that record is going to highlight the discussion of what matters even more.

The tug-of-war between absolute pragmatism and personal achievement was on display Wednesday, when Farrell gave ground to the latter. 

The manager was prepared for the questions after a celebratory 9-0 win over the Orioles. His pitchers threw 26 straight scoreless innings to finish off a three-game sweep of the Orioles, and the Sox had the game well in hand the whole night.

With seven innings and 99 pitches thrown and 299 strikeouts in the books, Sale went back out for the eighth inning.

If you watched it, if you saw Sale drop a 2-2 front-door slider to a hapless Ryan Flaherty for the final strikeout Sale needed and his last pitch of the night, you surely enjoyed it. Records may not be championships, but they have their own appeal in sports that’s undeniable. 

But Sale could have recorded strikeout No. 300 next time out. Surely, he would have. He needed all 111 pitches to do so Wednesday.

In this case, the difference between 299 and 300 wound up being just 12 pitches. 

It’s doubtful those 12 pitches will ruin Sale’s postseason chances, particularly considering he was throwing hard all game, touching 99 mph. 

Nonetheless, the Sox hope to play for another month, and they've been working to get Sale extra rest. So, why risk fatigue, or worse, injury?

“The two overriding factors for me,” Farrell explained, “were the pitch counts and the innings in which he was in control of throughout. Gets an extra day [for five days of rest] this next time through the rotation. All those things were brought into play in the thinking of bringing him back out.

“We know what the final out of tonight represented, him getting the 300 strikeouts. Was aware of that, and you know what, felt like he was in complete command of this game and the ability to go out and give that opportunity, he recorded it.”

If Sale makes his final two starts of the year, he’ll break Martinez's record of 313. At least, Sale should. But he might not make his projected final start, in Game No. 162, so that he’s set up for Game 1 in the Division Series.

(So, if he could do reach 314 Ks in his next start, he’d make this discussion disappear — but 14 Ks in one outing is not easy.)

When should exceptions be made to let someone get to a record? Where do you draw the line? 

Would it be reasonable to get Sale an inning or two against the Astros in Game 162 if he was a few strikeouts away, even though he may face the Astros in the Division Series?

Letting the Astros get extra looks against Sale is a different matter than Sale throwing 12 extra pitches. But neither is really a guarantee of doom. They're small risks, of varying size.

Consider that if Sale is on, he should rough up the Astros no matter what.

What's 12 pitches Wednesday for a guy who leads the majors in average pitches thrown per game? Not enough to keep Farrell from letting Sale have a go at one milestone.

Will the Sox work to put Sale in position for the next?

Records don’t usually fall into such a grey area. Outside of the steroid era, anyway.