* The news on Alex Rodriguez is being covered exhaustively and effectively, so I don’t have much to add. I don’t really care for the term “hybrid” for the surgery, since really what they’re doing is half a surgery. Instead of both debriding the labrum and resurfacing the head of the femur, they’re only doing the former. It should work, given the details we’ve been given (and it was a lot of details. Peter Abraham has an update after surgery and if you dig a bit, there’s some great audio with Dr. Philippon that is a lot more transparent than we’ve heard from the Yankees in years. Rodriguez will be on an exercise bike today — yes, same day of surgery — and I think he’ll be back ahead of the six to nine week estimate, if only slightly. The other news that came out today is that Rodriguez will have the more extensive part of the surgery done after the ‘09 season.
* For those Yankees fans watching Alex Rodriguez’s situation, they might want to watch the Red Sox. Mike Lowell is scheduled to be in game action for the first time on Tuesday. His hip injury and the resulting surgery were more significant that Rodriguez’s, but there is some information to be gleaned from the progress that Lowell and Chase Utley are making this spring.
* Bad news on Ervin Santana. He has a “small” tear in his UCL. He’ll rest and undergo treatment before a decision is made on the next step. Surgeons disagree on how complete a tear must be before doing Tommy John surgery, in large part because every arm is different. More, the forces put on those arms are different. Santana’s going to be risky, even if he’s able to come back. Very few pitchers are effective in the short term, with many showing control issues. He’ll start the season on the DL to be sure, though there’s a lot of uncertainty for anything beyond that.
* Word from Team USA is that Chipper Jones has a “very mild” oblique strain. They’re going to be very cautious with him in deference to the Braves. The team does have David Wright available, though he was evidently DHing to give him promised rest. I’m unsure what the rules are for replacing an injured player on the roster if it comes to that.
* Things have gone poorly for Eric Chavez this spring and he’s been shut down. There’s speculation that the signing of Orlando Cabrera was done to free up Bobby Crosby to move to 3B. The A’s are “mildly optimistic” about Joey Devine, though the source I spoke with couldn’t explain that optimism in any concrete terms.
* Signs are pointing to David Price starting the season in Durham and BJ Upton being “very close” to ready on Opening Day. Upton’s hitting very well so far, ahead of schedule and showing power. The question is now playing the field and whether the team wants to DH him, which would likely put Pat Burrell in RF and Fernando Perez in CF. The Rays have a ton of roster questions, so Upton starting on the DL might free up a spot to help give them time, while Price shouldn’t buy in Durham either. He’s on the “Longoria Plan” and should be in the Rays rotation by May.
* Nice article on Cubs Athletic Trainer Mark O’Neal in today’s Sun-Times. While it’s always good to see these hard-working and underappreciated guys getting some good publicity, the praise and the numbers don’t match up well. It’s difficult to get a good read on the Cubs’ staff because they’ve been saddled with a lot of injury-prone players. O’Neal had Mark Prior and Kerry Wood in 2005, as well as Scott Williamson and Chad Fox putting DL days on the board. In 2006, it was much the same, with some traumatic injuries like Derrek Lee adding to the totals. Overall, O’Neal’s numbers as Head Trainer have always been mid-pack with a bias towards maintenance successes rather than being able to prevent or reduce injuries. Jim Hendry seems to understand this, a big plus for the organization.
* Finally, please don’t use comments to go off-topic. Email is a much better medium for getting answers from me than commenting. I’m going to make it a policy not to respond to off-topic questions.