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Surgery to sideline Yankees' Alex Rodriguez 6-9 weeks

TAMPA — Alex Rodriguez's spring training saga took another unexpected turn: He's headed for hip surgery today that will sideline him for six to nine weeks — and that's not all.

The Yankees third baseman will need a second operation after the season, assuming he can play all the way through. Dr. Marc Philippon, who will perform the initial procedure in Colorado, said he's confident Rodriguez will be able to do that once he recovers.

"Well, it's better than him missing the whole year," manager Joe Girardi said. "It could have been a lot worse."

The decision Sunday came after Rodriguez and the Yankees spent the week mulling treatment options for his torn labrum.

The arthroscopic procedure that was chosen gives the three-time MVP a chance to return early this season; GM Brian Cashman said he expects A-Rod back "sometime in May." But it also means he'll need another, more extensive operation in the fall.

BURNETT SHARP: RHP A.J. Burnett pitched two scoreless innings in his spring debut in a 12-3 win over the Tigers. Girardi had limited Burnett to bullpen sessions and simulated games. "It was nice to get out there and face some hitters," Burnett said.

Phillies: Catcher in WBC heals fast

Phillies C Carlos Ruiz was in the lineup for Panama's World Baseball Classic team on Sunday, a day after an injury scare.

Ruiz was taken out of Panama's opener for precautionary reasons because of a neck strain. But after a night's rest, he was cleared to take batting practice, and Panama manager Hector Lopez penciled him into the starting lineup for the elimination game against the Dominican Republic.

"I feel good," Ruiz told MLB.com. "I feel a little sore, but I can play."

Jays: Purcey sparkles in spring debut

SARASOTA — LHP David Purcey, making his first spring start, shut down the Reds for the first three innings in the Blue Jays' 6-5 10-inning loss.

"It was good to get back in the swing of things. It was the first time in front of a crowd," said Purcey, penciled as Toronto's No. 3 starter.

"I can't control where they put me or where they don't. The only thing I can do is go out there and try to throw strikes."

the teams

Jays at Yankees

1:15 p.m., George M. Steinbrenner Field, 1 Steinbrenner Drive, Tampa. Tickets: Call (813) 879-2244 or online at yankees.com.

Phillies vs. Reds

1:05 p.m., Bright House Field, 601 Old Coachman Road, Clearwater. Tickets: Call (727) 467-4457 or online at phillies.com.

Blue Jays: Dunedin Stadium, 373 Douglas Ave., Dunedin. Tickets: Call toll-free 1-888-525-5297 or (727) 733-0429 or online at bluejays.com.

Surgery to sideline Yankees' Alex Rodriguez 6-9 weeks 03/08/09 [Last modified: Sunday, March 8, 2009 10:05pm]
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