Note to those reporting on Alex Rodriguez's injury over the weekend: Stay away from describing it as stiffness in the groin.
That was one explanation given for his exit in the first inning of Thursday night's 4-3 loss to the Orioles and it conjures up images far different than anything having to do with a muscular strain. It also obscures the fact that there's some fear that the injury could be related to last season's hip surgery -- A-Rod will consult with the surgeon who operated on him -- and that might indicate a bigger concern than the discomfort reported on Thursday night.
It's not like such thoughts haven't been in the back of people's minds this season. A-Rod has been productive at the plate this season but he hasn't been quite as productive as we're used to and he's flashed a good deal less power than in the past. As Mark Teixeira would surely attest, there are a lot of reasons why a hitter might put up numbers that are less than expected so we don't want to leap to any conclusions about something being wrong with A-Rod.
That said, we're curious to hear what the doctors have to say about the Yankee third baseman and we're not really expecting to see him in the lineup against the Astros this weekend. He's only taken two days off all season despite a lot of organizational chatter about giving him more rest and a little time off now might help him avoid a long absence at some point down the road.
A-Rod's injury overshadows but doesn't totally eclipse the end of the Yankees' 10-game winning streak against the Orioles. Baltimore seems to have stumbled onto a winning formula -- start a pitcher who has never appeared in the big leagues before and have Ramiro Pena bat cleanup -- but they won't get another chance to try it until September as the two teams go their seperate ways for the next three months.
The state of the Yankee team when they get back together might have a lot to do with the state of Rodriguez's hip. If Pena's in the lineup, there's a good chance that there early laughers against the O's will be a distant memory.