A-Rod may not require more surgery
Based on effectiveness of recovery, Dr. Philippon optimistic
NEW YORK -- Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez might not need offseason hip surgery, after all.
Dr. Marc J. Philippon, who performed arthroscopic surgery on Rodriguez's right hip labrum during Spring Training, said that more tests are needed, but he doesn't think the slugger will require a second surgery this offseason.
"Clinically, he certainly doesn't need any intervention at this time," Philippon said. "It's very difficult to make a formal, definite statement right now."
Philippon, part of the Steadman Hawkins Clinic in Vail, Colo., was on the field prior to Game 2 of the American League Division Series between the Yankees and Twins, and after a morning meeting, he examined Rodriguez and watched him during batting practice.
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"His power is excellent and his rotation in his hip is excellent," Philippon said. "For us, clinically we couldn't be more pleased."
Philippon, who keeps in frequent contact with Rodriguez, said the third baseman has progressed from 75 percent healthy in May to about 95 percent, and he expects Rodriguez to be back at full throttle by Spring Training 2010.
After largely disregarding the schedule of rest that Philippon recommended for the first few months following surgery, the Yankees were adamant about giving Rodriguez plenty of time off down the stretch. The results are evident in the numbers, as A-Rod's batting average improved each month of the regular season, culminating in a .344 mark for the season's final 26 games.
"We have to really thank the Yankees organization because it was a very important part of our plan, and I have to really respect the organization for fulfilling the plan," Philippon said. "Obviously, Alex had a great response to the change, and it's just a reflection on the organization."
The Yankees were a Major League-best 90-44 following Rodriguez's return from the disabled list on May 8. Having the cleanup batter in the lineup helped No. 3 hitter Mark Teixiera bat .310 with 107 RBIs in the season's final 131 games. Teixeira hit .198 with 15 RBIs during the 25 games A-Rod was sidelined.
While Philippon said he wasn't surprised by Rodriguez's speedy and effective recovery, the world-renowned surgeon certainly didn't expect A-Rod to turn in his 12th consecutive season of 30 homers and 100 RBIs, which he cemented with a two-homer, seven-RBI game in the regular-season finale against the Rays.
"Obviously, he had excellent preparation, and it showed in his execution," Phillipon said. "I have to say I'm impressed with his progression, the way the season went."
Brittany Ghiroli is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.