From Comcast SportsNetMIAMI (AP) -- Alex Rodriguez went to see doctors with hopes of finding something wrong. When they actually located a problem, only then did he start feeling a bit better.The New York Yankees' third baseman said Saturday that plans set for him to have surgery on his left hip in mid-January, and that he's eager to embrace the challenge of coming back from both the operation and an unbelievably abysmal finish to last season.It's expected that Rodriguez, who will be making his sixth trip to the disabled list in six seasons, could be sidelined until the All-Star break."I'm not concerned," Rodriguez said. "I'm actually, in many ways, relieved that there's something tangible that we can go fix."Rodriguez had surgery on his right hip in 2009, missed about the first month of the season and still finished with 30 home runs and 100 RBIs -- plus helped the Yankees win the World Series. This surgery is more complex, since it'll repair not only a torn labrum but also a bone impingement and a cyst. The surgery is next month because it was determined he needed some time to strengthen the hip first."I am fully committed to a very hard road back," Rodriguez said. "We've done it before in 09 and it was a great result, both on a personal level and on a team level, more importantly. I take it as a great challenge and I'm excited for the challenge."Rodriguez is a 14-time All-Star and baseball's priciest player, with his current deal being worth 275 million.He batted .120 (3 for 25) with no RBIs in last season's playoffs, including 0 for 18 with 12 strikeouts against right-handed pitchers. He was benched and replaced by a pinch hitter in key spotsl, too.Rodriguez originally thought he was having issues with the right hip again -- he wasn't -- and it wasn't until November that the issues within the left hip were detected. Now knowing that something was wrong, Rodriguez said a lot of things from last season -- particularly how it ended -- make more sense."It was definitely an unfortunate situation," Rodriguez said. "And if we knew, I think we could have avoided the bloody bath of the last two weeks. Obviously, that wasn't fun. It was quite miserable, to be honest with you."Rodriguez finished this past regular season batting .272 with 18 home runs and 57 RBIs. He now has 647 career homers, fifth-most in baseball history and 13 shy of the No. 4 player on that list, Willie Mays.Rodriguez was in Miami, the city he calls home, on Saturday to host a pair of events for children -- his basketball tournament which he started a decade ago, and a toy giveaway at a Boys & Girls Club where he was a member until getting drafted by the Seattle Mariners.He addressed about 150 players at a breakfast honoring the eight basketball teams in the morning, telling them stories about his upbringing and earliest days as a student and athlete that many in the room did not likely know."You're probably sitting there saying, Now, how can you relate with us? You play for the Yankees. You make all this money. You date so-and-so,'" Rodriguez told the basketball players. "What you guys don't know is we're all alike. I was sitting in that chair just 15, 18 years ago. My mom had two jobs. I didn't know if I would ever have a steak dinner. That didn't exist in my house."He also met privately with some of the athletes afterward, advising them about upcoming decisions, such as what to look for in a college. Rodriguez also posed for several photos with the teams and their coaches."I can't say enough good things about him," said Brother Kevin Handibode, the president of Christopher Columbus High School in Miami, where Rodriguez attended as a freshman. "I know about all the good work he does, and you don't hear about it. You just don't hear about the good that Alex has done in a very, very quiet way."Later, at his afternoon event, Rodriguez donned a Christmas hat and handed out toys for about 30 minutes, everything from basketballs to bicycles to Barbiedolls.He isn't exactly sure what the next few weeks will entail; there's no firm date for the surgery and the plans for his rehabilitation are still largely being worked out."I think I'm definitely going to play," Rodriguez said. "We've been down this road before. We have a good plan. We have a good team in place."The Yankees have pursued former Boston third baseman Kevin Youkilis in recent days, and Rodriguez gave the longtime New York foe a glowing recommendation when asked about him on Saturday."Youk has always been a tough out," Rodriguez said. "He's a tough player, a winning player. Whatever the franchise wants to do, I think that'll be a good move for us."Several times on Saturday, he drew the parallel back to 2009, when he started the season rehabbing from hip surgery and the Yankees wound up winning a championship. He can envision a similar script in 2013."Don't count us out," Rodriguez said. "We are the New York Yankees."
Dylan Covey is already the sixth White Sox pitcher to be placed on the 10-day disabled list this season. The club announced Friday that Covey is headed to the DL just as one of the pitchers already there, James Shields, took another step forward in his rehab.
Shields threw his second bullpen in three days on Friday and hopes to begin a minor-league rehab assignment after he throws a three-inning, game-situation-like bullpen on Monday.
The White Sox promoted reliever Juan Minaya to take Covey’s spot on the 25-man roster. They also announced Tyler Danish would be the 26th man for Saturday’s doubleheader and manager Rick Renteria said Covey’s scheduled start Monday would be filled internally. Reliever David Holmberg could make the start.
“I’m full bore,” Shields said. “Everything is working really well and everything feels good. Ready to rock and roll.
“It’s been pretty tough for me. I’m pretty anxious. I want to be out there and help my team win. But at the end of the day I have to stick to the process. You know the team was really doing good up until this last road trip. Now we need to pick it back up. I’m looking forward to coming back and helping the squad out.”
Covey isn’t surprised he landed on the DL.
He missed much of the 2016 season with a left oblique strain and knew exactly what he was experiencing when he felt the tug on Tuesday. But Covey remembers the early portion of last year’s injury and thinks he’s in better shape now.
“Well, my first thought was, ‘Oh, no. I did it again,’” Covey said. “It’s kind of looking like it might not be nearly as bad as it was last year. So I’m staying optimistic and taking it day by day.”
“I think if I tried to push it another pitch like I did last year, it could have maybe worsened the situation. So I’m glad I was able to hold back a little bit.”
Minaya -- who pitched in 11 games for the 2016 White Sox -- missed roughly five weeks with an abdominal tear. Though he wanted to race back (he struck out nine in 5 2/3 innings this spring), Minaya knew he had to be practical about his rehab. Once healthy, Minaya pitched well at Triple-A Charlotte, where he posted a 1.23 ERA in 14 2/3 innings.
“I took a little while but we’re going through the process and we have to be patient and do everything they say to get healthy,” Minaya said. “We have to do the right thing to be healthy.”
“I feel very happy with myself because I’m working to get back here and I see the progress and I feel very happy.”
Minaya gives the White Sox nine relievers on their 13-man staff. That amount would make it much easier for the team to fill Covey’s first turn in the rotation with a bullpen game on Monday. A career starter who only began to pitch in relief this season, Holmberg could give the White Sox several innings to start. While Renteria won’t name any candidates for the series opener against the Boston Red Sox, he did suggest it would be an internal candidate.
“We’ll probably end up filling with one of our own guys,” Renteria said.
Jim Callis thinks the Luis Robert signing is going to have a gigantic impact on the organization well beyond adding another elite talent.
When Robert officially joins the White Sox sometime next week, Callis projects the Cuban outfielder will initially be ranked the No. 27 prospect in baseball on MLBPipeline.com. That ranking is one spot ahead of Atlanta Braves shortstop Kevin Maitan, who previously was the No. 1 prospect in the 2016-17 international class.
But Callis likes the deal — reportedly worth between $25-30 million — because of what it could mean for the White Sox under the rules of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement where the playing field is leveled. Whereas teams could spend unlimited sums of money under the old CBA, the new rules include a hard salary cap.
[WHITE SOX TICKETS: Get your seats right here]
“It’s not going to be about money any more,” Callis said. “The teams with the most money will have $5.25 million and the teams with the least will have $4.75 million. You can trade and double that, but that’s it. So it’s not going to come down to this team is offering $25 million and this team is offering $10 million. Everyone’s going to be offering the future Luis Robert’s of the world the same money and it’s going to come down as who has relationships, who has done well with Cuban players. You look at how the White Sox recruited him with the video. I think it’s sending a message, ‘Hey, we’re a destination for Cuban players.’ That’s going to be huge going forward, almost as important as getting Luis Robert.”
"I think it was huge."
The Robert acquisition is critical for the rebuilding White Sox, who had acquired a number of talented arms in the initial phase but also need to stockpile as many bats as possible. Yoan Moncada is the biggest offensive piece added since the rebuild began in December. But beyond last year’s draft class, the only other offensive piece added is outfielder Luis Basabe.
Internally, Robert will be ranked fourth overall in the White Sox top-10 list to start, though he could move ahead of Lucas Giolito when the system rankings are reorganized in July, Callis said.
Said Callis of Robert: “The obvious comparison is kind of a right-handed outfield version of Moncada.”