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If you thought Derek Jeter possibly gaining weight was the only thing to worry about in the Yankee infield, you were sorely mistaken.
Joel Sherman of the Post reports that Alex Rodriguez tore the labrum in his left hip during the 2012 season and will need another operation to repair the damage. The surgery is expected to cost him some time at the start of the regular season, just as the original surgery to repair a torn labrum in the right hip cost him time at the start of the 2009 season.
The news does help explain why Rodriguez was so horrid at the plate down the stretch last season and especially rancid in the playoffs. Without getting full explosion from the hips, a hitter isn't going to be able to drive the ball and A-Rod made it pretty clear that not driving the ball is going to leave you without sufficient offensive production.
Now's the portion of the program when we rehash the conversation about how scary the myriad injuries big and small that have plagued Rodriguez over the last few years are when you realize that he's still signed through 2017. Even if fixing the hip does give him back some of what he was missing as last year wound down, how long will it be until his next absence?
That's why sufficient offensive production should be a serious worry for the Yankees right now. They will have to wait on A-Rod and deal with Derek Jeter coming off of a broken ankle while also trying to replace the departed Nick Swisher and Russell Martin in the lineup.
Eduardo Nunez will undoubtedly be part of the program and may be the fill-in third baseman until Rodriguez is able to return to the lineup. You could cobble together an Eric Chavez/Jayson Nix-type of bench approach for further depth, but that doesn't really get the job done in terms of the starting lineup.
The Yankees, pinching every penny ahead of 2014, need to find some way to add an impact bat to the lineup or they're going to have too many easy outs in the lineup come April. Perhaps last week's moves to ensure the return of last year's optimal pitching staff means that there's a trade involving an extra starting pitcher coming down the pike because right now the Yankees aren't quite where they need to be on the offensive side of the ball.
Brian Cashman's got some Christmas shopping to do.