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A-Rod's hip surgery may keep him out till May

YANKEES third baseman Alex Rodriguez had arthroscopic surgery on Monday to repair a torn labrum in his right hip and was projected to return to the team's lineup in six to nine weeks.

Dr Marc Philippon performed the 1-hour, 20-minute procedure at Vail Valley Surgery Center in Colorado.

"The surgery went exactly as we planned," Philippon said during a conference call. "No surprises."

Other options considered were a more aggressive surgery that would have sidelined Rodriguez up to four months and a conservative approach that would have included rest and treatment.

"There is no doubt in our minds that this was the best option," Philippon said. "This was the best option for Alex and the Yankees."

General manager Brian Cashman expects the three-time AL MVP back on the field "sometime in May." Rodriguez will need a more extensive operation after the season, and Philippon said Rodriguez will "absolutely" be ready for spring training in 2010.

Rodriguez was expected to be released from the hospital later yesterday and to start his rehab. He was to perform range of motion drills and ride a stationary bike.

"Alex is doing well," Philippon said. "Over the next few days, until Friday, we will work on his range of motion. Hopefully by Friday or Sunday, we will start working on his muscle memory and adding range of motion that involves the rotation of a batter when he swings."

Rehab program

Manager Joe Girardi said the immediate start of Rodriguez's rehab program was encouraging.

"That's pretty amazing," Girardi said after the Yankees lost 6-2 to Toronto. "That makes me feel like that the six to nine weeks is doable. The one thing about Alex, we know he's going to work and work and work. It might be a case that we have to hold him back a little bit."

Philippon said he found a small impingement and the lining of a cyst that was removed last week. The labrum was repaired.

Toronto manager Cito Gaston said the Yankees can overcome the loss of Rodriguez at the start of the regular season.

"They're going to miss him, but I still think they have enough offense that they'll do fine until he comes back," Gaston. "They will have to pitch, though. They certainly have the pitchers there that are capable of pitching well."

New York added CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett during the offseason to stabilize its starting rotation.


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