A-Rod says diagnosis on hip provided some relief

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Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez posted a .764 OPS in the second half of the 2012 season and went 3-for-27 (.120) in the playoffs. So it was sort of reassuring, confidence-wise, when he was diagnosed this month with a torn muscle in his left hip because he actually had something to blame for his struggles.

Here’s A-Rod, speaking about the injury this weekend with David Villavicencio of MLB.com:

“It was a crushing blow when we got to Vail, Colorado, and I talked to my doctors,” Rodriguez said. “It was obviously a big blow, but there is a very small part of me that is relieved that there is a tangible issue and we can adjust and get back to playing really good baseball. … We’ve been down this road before. We have a good plan and a good team in place. I’m looking forward to the challenge.”

Rodriguez will go under the knife in mid-January and should be ready to rejoin the Yankees by July.

New York has made a one-year, $12 million offer to Kevin Youkilis to provide insurance at third base.

Will Middlebrooks carted off field with injury

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Phillies third baseman Will Middlebrooks suffered a serious injury during Saturday’s Grapefruit League contest against the Orioles. The infielder was chasing down a pop fly in the eighth inning when he ran into left fielder Andrew Pullin, who inadvertently trapped Middlebrooks’ ankle under his leg. Middlebrooks was unable to put weight on his leg following the collision and was carted off the field and taken to a local hospital for X-rays.

Per MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki, not much is known yet about the severity of the ankle injury or the recovery time it will require, though it appears serious enough to set Middlebrooks back considerably as he seeks a backup/bench role with the team this spring.

The 29-year-old is currently seeking another opportunity to extend his six-year major-league career in 2018. He’s coming off of two down years with the Brewers and Rangers, during which he slashed a cumulative .169/.229/.262 with four extra bases through 70 plate appearances.