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Spring Game 10: Tigers at Yankees (with Alex Rodriguez updates including Hal Steinbrenner’s comments)

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Gardner CF
Damon LF
Swisher 1B
Posada DH
Duncan RF
Ransom 3B
Molina C
Berroa 2B
Pena SS

Pitching tonight: CC Sabathia followed by Alfredo Aceves, Jose Veras, Steven Jackson, David Robertson and Anthony Claggett.

Raburn RF
Polanco 2B
Sheffield DH
Thames LF
Hessman 1B
Cleven CF
Inge 3B
Sardinha C
Everett SS

Pitching tonight: Justin Verlander, Brandon Lyon, Bobby Seay, Freddy Dolsi.

Notes: The Yankees will have their annual meeting with the MLBPA this afternoon. Those usually last a while. … Tonight is the first night game at Big Stein Field. … The Yankees travel to face the Tigers on Sunday. … A-Rod is not here today. He remains in Colorado.

UPDATE, 3:17 p.m.: Hal Steinbrenner was just in Joe Girardi’s office for a 15-minute meeting with the manager and Brian Cashman.

When he exited a few of us were there to ask him some questions as he walked quickly down the hallway back to his office. Here is how it went:

Question: “Anything new on Alex?”

Steinbrenner: “When we know something, we’ll let you know. No decision has been made yet. We’re just being cautious.”

Question: “What is your level of concern?”

Steinbrenner: “Everybody is concerned. Any time you have a player – particularly one as hard to replace as him – it’s a great concern. We’re going to take it slow and we’re going to be cautious.”

There was some more at the end but he was literally walking away as fast as he could.

Meanwhile, Cashman said he has not talked to A-Rod today and has no idea when he will be returning to Tampa. “I have no new information for you,” he said several times.

Hals comment about no decision being reached seems significant. It would not surprise me one bit if Alex had surgery on Monday. Stan Javier, the GM of the Dominican team, said that is what Alex told him would happen. So did Alex’s half-brother.

I wonder if the Yankees and Cashman are stalling for a day or two to try and make a deal. Then A-Rod gets surgery and everybody moves on, he comes back after the All-Star break, etc.

As accurate information comes in, we will post as quickly as possible.

UPDATE, 5:12 p.m. They flip-flopped Gardner and Damon. Girardi said just to get Brett used to hitting in front of Johnny if he’s the 9 hitter.

UPDATE, 5:56 p.m.: We just spoke to Joe Girardi for quite a while about A-Rod.

Things have changed since yesterday. The Yankees said then that the plan was for Alex to try and play and have surgery after the season. Now both Hal Steinbrenner and Girardi have talked about Alex needing to make a decision about having surgery.

Alex underwent more tests today and supposedly planned to throw and even hit in a cage out in Colorado. Then he will take a day or two to decide what to do, in consultation with the Yankees.

The sense I get from talking to people both in Tampa and elsewhere is that Alex will be having the surgery and it would be as soon as Monday. The Yankees are fearful of his trying to play and then having to come out of the lineup.

By having the surgery now, the team has a month to prepare for life without Alex and his rehab clock starts ticking. Essentially, March is a free month of rehab.

Joe Girardi is not making the call here. But consider his plight. He already has a catcher who will be able to catch only two out every three games. He also has a DH with two bad knees. Having a third baseman who needs to DH at times, or can’t play on turf, or can’t play four days in a row … you’re handcuffing him.

Here is the Joe Girardi audio from today. It’s a lengthy interview. But I think you’ll gain some insight into what is going on:

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UPDATE, 6:22 p.m.: Here is the money quote:

Question: Is there a possibility Alex could have surgery in the next few days?

Girardi: “That’s a determination Alex and the doctors have to make. The organization will continue to discuss it with both parties. But yeah, there is a possibility.”

In the past, whenever Girardi has used the word “possibility” that was exactly what happened.

UPDATE, 6:47 p.m.: CC Sabathia is scheduled for 35 pitches tonight, about two innings.

UPDATE, 7:24 p.m.: CC struck out Raburn on four pitches. Then Polanco reached on a pop-up double that Shelley should have had. After Sheff grounded out, Berroa kicked a grounder by Thames and a run scored.

UPDATE, 7:44 p.m.: CC allowed a two-out single in the second but fanned Inge and got two grounders. He induced five groundballs in two innings, a great sign that is two-seamer was on. I would think he is done for the night.

UPDATE, 7:51 p.m.: Cody Ransom doubles. Go get that surgery, A-Rod. Cody can handle it.

UPDATE, 8:24 p.m.: Yankees lead 4-1. One in the second and three in the third. Sorry for the lack of updates, but with the night game I have newspaper deadlines to make.

From what I understand (via the comments section), you can listen to the game on line at this link. [3]

UPDATE, 9:06 p.m.: Here’s CC Sabathia discussing his outing:

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UPDATE, 9:09 p.m.: I didn’t see it as we were downstairs talking to CC, but reportedly Brett Gardner just made a spectacular catch in center field.

Gritty, gutty. The Little G.