Given a choice between having surgery and missing four months out of the season or postponing surgery until November and spending most of the year in pain, Alex Rodriguez split the difference: He’s having a smaller, less invasive surgery now, with the big operation once the season ends. He'll be out about six to eight weeks. And those are the exact six to eight weeks the Yankees would like him gone.
If everything goes perfectly for A-Rod — and with A-Rod, nothing ever goes perfectly — he’ll be back, roughly, at the end of April, perhaps in time for the first Red Sox game at the new Yankee Stadium (happening May 4). Because the season starts late this year (April 6, in Baltimore), that’s potentially less than a full month of baseball, not enough time to wreck your season even if you’re plopping Cody Ransom out there five times a week. But think about what A-Rod’s going to miss off the field.
April 14. Selena Roberts’ A-Rod: The Many Lives of Alex Rodriguez is published by HarperCollins. Countless rumors of the salacious details found within — steroids might be the least of A-Rod’s problems — have been making the rounds for months now. (Clearly, A-Rod is worried — he accused Roberts of “stalking” him during an interview with ESPN. He later apologized.) Eventually, A-Rod will have to release a statement about the book, but it won’t be in the locker room with his teammates, which will be a relief to everyone.
April 16. The first game at the new Yankee Stadium. (Oddly, it’s a day game.) The festivities will start early that morning, with the pomp, the circumstance, the Steinbrenner, the Yogi Berra. It’ll be an epic, historic day in the life of an epic, historic franchise … and Alex Rodriguez will not be there. They’ll sell commemorative coffee-table books about the first game in the new stadium. A-Rod won’t be in them. And there will be no boos.
April 24. The Yankees play their first series of the season at Fenway Park. The Red Sox and their fans were this close to being stuck with A-Rod years ago, before the Yankees “swiped” him, and since then, the fortunes of the two franchises have reversed themselves. Booing A-Rod is popular everywhere, but no one’s better at it than Fenway faithful. It’s unlikely they’ll work themselves into as much of a lather for Cody Ransom.
So, A-Rod will miss the least important month of baseball, a time when he would have been an endless distraction to a team already fed up with him. It couldn’t have worked out better. Are we sure his labrum is actually injured?