On a scale of 1 to 5, what is your expectation for Alex Rodriguez this season?
1. Absolutely nothing
There’s a league investigation into Biogenesis, a surgically repaired hip that has yet to be tested in a game, and speculation that Rodriguez would rather retire than face the possibility of further injury or costly suspension. He’s not back in the Yankees lineup yet, and he’s not coming back. At least not this year.
2. Makes no difference
Rodriguez wasn’t a great hitter last season, and the hip had very little to do with it. His slugging percentage has declined each year for the past five years. Is it supposed to suddenly climb after another extensive surgery? If Rodriguez plays any better than David Adams, it won’t be by much, and the Yankees would be better off letting the young guy get at-bats.
3. All too familiar
Last season was a fairly accurate glimpse of what Rodriguez has become. Maybe he won’t be as bad as he was in September, but he no longer hits for power against right-handers, and he’s more of a complimentary piece than a difference maker. He’ll be better than what the Yankees have right now, but it’s not saving the lineup.
4. Turn back the clock
The hip problem was significant, and it explains much of what Rodriguez has shown the past two seasons. He’s not what he was in his prime, but he’s still an elite hitter capable of slugging in the low .500s and getting on base 35 percent of the time. He hit 16 home runs in the second half of 2010. He’s certainly capable of reaching that number again.
5. He’s back
The hip is fixed. The time off his feet brought some much needed rest, and these months of rehab have brought every opportunity to strengthen and fix bad habits. For a three-time MVP, this surgery was a blessing in disguise, returning Rodriguez to something just short of his peak. He’s a career .300/.384/.560 hitter, and that’s the player the Yankees are getting back.
Associated Press photo