03/10/09 7:30 PM ET
Cashman 'not proactive' in market
Yankees' GM foresees few opportunities to deal for third baseman
By Bryan Hoch / MLB.com
Until further notice, the Yankees are expecting to hit Opening Day with 33-year-old utility man Cody Ransom taking the place of the three-time American League Most Valuable Player until mid-May. Cashman said he does not anticipate that situation will change.
"I'm not optimistic about doing anything," Cashman said. "I'm not going to be proactive in trying to do something. If something presents itself that makes sense, which is not realistic, then maybe it will be somebody different. I think our answer is here in camp."
Rodriguez had an 80-minute surgical procedure performed on his right hip on Monday in Vail, Colo. Dr. Marc Philippon performed the surgery to repair a torn labrum and address cartilage from a paralabral cyst. Rodriguez is expected to return in six to nine weeks.
Cashman said that he has not spoken to any general managers regarding third-base options, though agents have called him. Yankees director of professional scouting Billy Eppler would be assigned to line up any potential options.
Cashman gave no inclination that he would pursue players like veteran free agent Mark Grudzielanek, but he balked when asked if he had seen any options that might be better than Ransom.
"I wouldn't say," Cashman said. "We'll do our due diligence to go through the process. The only thing I'd basically state is that we're not going to be all that proactive and I'm not optimistic that we'll run into something.
"The team [is] not wanting to add payroll and not wanting to hurt the farm system, and we're going to get Alex back. I think we're going to go with what we have in camp."
Ransom has said that, should he begin the season as the Yankees' third baseman, he would not try to replace Rodriguez. Teammates agreed that they would have to pick up the slack in Rodriguez's absence, and Cashman said that the Yankees could not match his production.
"I don't know if you're ever prepared to miss a player like Alex Rodriguez," Cashman said. "The drop-off from a player like Alex is so significant, you can never really prepare for that.
"One player doesn't make a team, and while he's gone, we have a lot of guys we're proud of with big names that we can run out there and have the expectation to win that day's game."
For the foreseeable future, Rodriguez will remain in Vail, Colo., where he will be on the fast track to returning to baseball shape. He began range-of-motion exercises and riding a stationary bicycle after the surgery on Monday, and he'll continue working on muscle exercises for the rest of the week.
Cashman said that Rodriguez will eventually return to Tampa when he can physically resume functional activities, like hitting in a batting cage and fielding ground balls. Until then, he will remain under Philippon's care.
"As long as he needs him out there, he's got him," Cashman said. "He's in good hands."
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.