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Girardi on third base, the rotation and A-Rod’s injury

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A few highlights — I’m using that word loosely — from Joe Girardi’s session with the media…

[2]Describing Alex Rodriguez’s hip injury
“When I told him that I was going to pinch hit for him — that was in Game 3 — he had told me that him and Kevin (Long) were talking, and basically he just felt his hips weren’t firing right. It wasn’t pain, but he just felt there was not the explosiveness. We sent him out for an MRI, I believe it was the next day, but it was on his right hip, and that came back fine. So I kept playing him. Little did we know it was his left hip, we found out much later, and now we’re at the point where he needs surgery, and we’re going to be without him for a substantial period of time.”

On trying to fill the hole at third base
“I think it’s something that we’re addressing during these Winter Meetings, discussions that we’re having, and we’ll look to see what’s out there. I can tell you, by Opening Day, we’ll have something. We’ll have a resolution to it. I don’t know it’s necessarily going to happen in the next two or three days at the Winter Meetings, but by Spring Training we’ll have a resolution to it. … We really don’t have anyone that has a lot of experience in that position. David Adams played some third base last year for us in (Double-A) as he moved up, and I think he played some in fall ball, but we don’t really have a lot of internal people.”

Plan as if you have to fill a full 162 games at third base?
“I think you have to assume those guys (added to play in place of Rodriguez) can play out the whole year depending on when Alex gets back. Our hope is it’s going to be four to six months. You can’t predict what’s going to happen, and you can’t predict how he’s going to come back. The one thing I know about Alex is his work ethic is tremendous, and he’s going to work hard to get back to a level that he can play at a very high level, but you don’t know exactly how the rehab is going to go. Is he going to need some DH days? If that’s the case, then you’re going to have to have someone that can play third base (full-time).”

Eduardo Nunez only a shortstop
“That was something that we tried to stick to last year at the end. We felt that it was somewhat difficult for him to be changing positions. Depending on what moves we make this off season might tell you how much he possibly has to play at another position. I thought he did a pretty good job when we just left him at shortstop for us last year, but is it something that we can expand this year? Maybe. But I expect him to be more of a shortstop than anything else.”

Is there a current favorite to be the starting catcher?
I think it’s an open competition. Chris Stewart, obviously, he played for us all last year, and we like the job that he did for us. Cervy has more experience than Romine, and Romine didn’t get a chance to play a lot last year (in the minors), and Cervy did. It’s still going to be an open competition. We’ll wait to see if someone opens their eyes in Spring Training. I think these guys can get the job done.”

On Curtis Granderson’s second-half struggles
“It’s hard to say. His contact rate went down a little bit. I don’t know if it’s just a matter of he wasn’t seeing as many mistakes in a sense, but we know how dangerous of a hitter he is. He still had 40 homers and 100 RBIs. If you could write that in from an outfielder, you’re probably going to sign up for it. I expect him to have a good year for us this year.”

Safe to say that Sabathia, Kuroda, Pettitte and Hughes are set as the top four starters?
I think so. There are no guarantees. You have to show up in Spring Training. You can’t show up and not perform and be horrible and expect to be in the rotation. With the way they pitched last year, it’s safe to say they should be our four starters. … I think (Ivan Nova and David Phelps) would be the two favorites to be the fifth starter. A lot could change, though, from here till February 10th, and then April 1st.”

That’s an old Associated Press photo, not from today