The Yankees superstar had an intermediate procedure performed in March and it was thought to be probable at the time that he would need to go back under the knife following the season. But Dr. Marc Philippon told A-Rod on Monday that he is strong enough to begin preparing for 2010.
"Basically, he was very excited by my MRI," Rodriguez said. "He examined me and said no surgery is needed. I'm going to check in a couple of times next year, but it's great news. I've got the green light to move forward with my conditioning program."
Rodriguez returned to New York's lineup in early May and hit .286 with 30 home runs and 100 RBIs in the regular season, then batted .365 with six homers and 18 RBIs in the playoffs as the Yankees secured their 27th World Series championship -- Rodriguez's first.
Philippon did not guarantee that Rodriguez will not eventually need the surgery, but A-Rod should be able to at least get through 2010 without another trip to the doctor's offices in Vail, Colo.
"You can't say 'ever,' but I think he is saying for the immediate future, whether it's one, two, or three years from now," Rodriguez said. "Obviously we'll have to keep an eye on it for the next couple of years. But I can move forward and continue to have an offseason with my full conditioning program."
Rodriguez took about a month off after the World Series to allow his hip to heal before the MRI, and started a light conditioning program two weeks ago. He threw on Wednesday for the first time since Game 6 of the Fall Classic.
"It's been nice having a chance to let it soak in a little bit," Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez said that Philippon will come to Spring Training and might need to see the third baseman at the All-Star break, but Rodriguez said he should be free of any "Philippon rules" as far as taking mandated days off late in the season.
"Ideally, we won't have to worry about that," Rodriguez said. "I think overall you still have to be aware of the situation."
One idea that could help keep Rodriguez fresh is using a revolving door of designated hitters, with Hideki Matsui now subtracted and no replacement yet on site. Rodriguez said that he would be in favor of such an arrangement, a thought he said that has also been conveyed to Mark Teixeira.
"I think DH is an important tool," said Rodriguez. "It's nice to have that like a revolving door. We have some veteran players that would all like to stay in the lineup daily. I've talked to Tex about this, and we'd both love to once a month DH and take it from there."
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less