Capitals

A-Rod needs hip surgery, will miss season's start

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A-Rod needs hip surgery, will miss season's start

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Alex Rodriguez will start the season in what's become a familiar place: the disabled list.

The New York Yankees said Monday the third baseman will have surgery on his left hip, an injury that could sideline him until the All-Star break and may explain his spectacularly poor performance during the playoffs.

``It's a significant blow,'' Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said. ``But we've dealt with significant blows and, hopefully, we'll be able to deal with this one, as well.''

A 14-time All-Star and baseball's priciest player at $275 million, Rodriguez has a torn labrum, bone impingement and a cyst. He will need four to six weeks of physical therapy to strengthen the hip before surgery, and the team anticipates he will be sidelined four to six months after the operation.

This will be Rodriguez's sixth trip to the disabled list in six seasons. A-Rod had right hip surgery on March 9, 2009, and returned that May 8.

``It is a more complicated surgery with a longer recovery time because there is a little bit more that needs to be done,'' Cashman said, citing the bone impingement. ``I don't think it's age related. Butt at the same time, the older you are, the slower you're going to recover regardless. But the bottom line and the message I've been receiving is that this is a solvable issue.''

Rodriguez, who turns 38 in July, complained to manager Joe Girardi of a problem with his right hip the night Raul Ibanez pinch hit for him - and hit a tying ninth-inning home run - against Baltimore during Game 3 of the AL division series in October. He went to New York-Presbyterian Hospital's emergency room and was checked out then.

``Up to this point, there was no complaints of any nature at all from his hip, or anything really,'' Cashman said. ``At that point Joe went to Alex in the dugout and said, `I'm going to pinch hit for you and we're going to pinch hit Ibanez,' and Alex said to Joe at that moment, `OK,' he said, `I've got to talk to you about something. I think my right hip needs to be looked at. I just don't feel like I'm firing on all cylinders.'''

Cashman said the test on the right hip ``was clean'' and the left hip was not examined.

``I can tell you if a patient shows up in the emergency room with a complaint, they're going to focus on where the complaint is, not something else,'' he said.

Rodriguez, owed $114 million by New York over the next five years, remained a shell of his former self on the field. He was benched in three of nine postseason games and pinch hit for in three others. He batted .120 (3 for 25) with no RBIs in the playoffs, including 0 for 18 with 12 strikeouts against right-handed pitchers.

A-Rod broke his left hand when he was hit by a pitch from Seattle's Felix Hernandez on July 24. He returned Sept. 3 and hit .195 with two homers and six RBIs over the final month of the regular season.

Cashman said Rodriguez's left hip injury was detected last month when he had an annual physical in Colorado with Dr. Marc Philippon, who operated on the right hip 3 1-2 years ago. Rodriguez got a second opinion from Dr. Bryan Kelly of New York's Hospital for Special Surgery, who will operate on A-Rod next month, and the injury was made public Monday by the New York Post.

Cashman said ``they're not your typical injuries'' but wouldn't speculate whether they are related to steroids use. Rodriguez admitted in 2009 that he used steroids while with the Texas Rangers from 2001-03.

``It doesn't matter what I wonder,'' Cashman said.

With Derek Jeter, who turns 39 in June, coming off surgery to repair a broken ankle, the left side of the Yankees' infield could be even more of a defensive problem.

Jeter expects to be ready for opening day. Eric Chavez, who filled in for Rodriguez for parts of the last two seasons, is a free agent and Cashman said there are few options on the market.

Rodriguez had a strained quadriceps in 2008, the hip surgery in 2009, a strained calf in 2010, knee surgery in 2011 and the broken hand this year. While he is fifth on the career list with 647 home runs, he had just 34 the last two seasons.

``When he's healthy - obviously at one point he was spectacular,'' Cashman said. ``One player doesn't make a team, and so we have a full roster of guys plus our farm system behind that that's going to have to fill in. We've done it before.''

NOTES: Toronto claimed C Eli Whiteside off waivers from the Yankees, who claimed him from San Francisco last month.

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Capitals are the class of the Metropolitan Division for fifth year in a row

Capitals are the class of the Metropolitan Division for fifth year in a row

You know what’s fun? Winning Metropolitan Division titles. 

No, it’s not as good as the big prize. The Capitals will never top their 2018 Stanley Cup championship. But winning a competitive division against their biggest rivals five years in a row? Pretty, pretty good. 

Washington took its fifth in a row officially on Tuesday when the NHL announced that the regular season had concluded thanks to the ongoing coronavirus. The Capitals just outlasted the Philadelphia Flyers with 90 standings points to 89. The difference over 69 games? One extra Caps game going into overtime for a single point. 

Credit to the Flyers for making a late run. No one was playing better in the NHL than Philadelphia just before the season was halted. Whether that carries over into the Stanley Cup Playoffs remains to be seen. 

But the Capitals should take pride in that streak. It’s hard to do in an age of parity. They play in a division where the Pittsburgh Penguins won two Stanley Cups in the previous four seasons. The two teams slugged it out three times in the second round. That’s the luck of the draw, and so four straight division titles -- and two Presidents’ Trophies -- meant just one Cup for Washington. 

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It’s also rare to dominate a division the way the Capitals have for five years. The Anaheim Ducks won the Pacific Division title every year from 2013 to 2017. Prior to that, the Detroit Red Wings won the Central Division an astounding eight times from 2001 to 2009. It doesn’t get you a championship -- Washington won the expired Southeast Division from 2008 to 2011 -- but it does mean you played great hockey year after year.

And to do it in the reconstituted Patrick Division, where long-time rivals like the Penguins, Flyers, Rangers, Islanders and Devils joined with newer rivals Carolina and Columbus, makes it even sweeter. Add another banner to the rafters at Capital One Arena. The Caps are the class of the Metropolitan Division yet again. 

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Nationals will not lay off full-time business or baseball employees amid coronavirus pandemic

Nationals will not lay off full-time business or baseball employees amid coronavirus pandemic

The Washington Nationals decided to use “partial furloughs” to keep their baseball and business employees at work through the end of their contracts or the calendar year.

The road map works like this:

All full-time business and baseball employees will receive a reduction in pay and hours ranging from 10 to 30 percent. If the employee’s contract runs to the end of baseball season -- typically Oct. 31 -- then these parameters apply from now until then. If the employee is not on contract, these reductions persist until Dec. 31.

No full-time employee is being laid off because of the economic impact from coronavirus.

An example: If a person works a 40-hour week, and has the 10 percent reduction in pay and hours, they are down to a 36-hour week at 10 percent pay cut.

The reduction scale slides. The highest-paid employees, like Mike Rizzo, are taking the largest reduction in pay. Then on down the line.

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The Nationals deciding to do this now allows their staff to know what the future holds as opposed to wondering month-to-month what decision the organization will make in regard to their job status.

Major League Baseball organizations remain uneasy about their financial future in 2020 since the season has stalled. The league and its team owners are in the midst of negotiations with the MLBPA while attempting to find a safe, revenue-satisfactory path back to the field.

Meanwhile, teams across the league are assessing their non-player finances, and the approach varies. For instance, the Anaheim Angels decided last week to furlough some non-playing employees.

In Washington, no full-time employee will be laid off because of this salary adjustment.

USA Today was first to report the Nationals’ overall decision.

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