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Cashman OK 'treading water' until Alex Rodriguez returns

Alex Rodriguez rolls on the ground after being

Alex Rodriguez rolls on the ground after being hit by a pitch during the eighth inning of a game against the Seattle Mariners. (July 24, 2012) Credit: AP

Brian Cashman said his inclination is he won’t look to the marketplace in the wake of losing Alex Rodriguez to the disabled list, but he readily admits a week ago acquiring Ichiro Suzuki wasn’t on his radar, either.

“I’m going to do my job and part of that is continuing to see what’s available,” Cashman said by phone Wednesday morning.

And don’t think the Yankees aren’t at least looking.

Rodriguez left Tuesday night’s loss to the Mariners in the eighth inning after getting hit by a Felix Hernandez changeup — one traveling 88 mph — with the pitch fracturing his left fifth metacarpal. Rodriguez, whose hand was put in a splint by the Mariners team doctor Wednesday morning, said after Wednesday’s 5-2 win he will be evaluated by Yankees team physician Christopher Ahmad at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center.

Cashman said he’ll wait for Dr. Ahmad’s evaluation but said “my amateur diagnosis for this kind of injury is usually 4-6 weeks.”
In the meantime, Cashman said he’s comfortable “treading water” with Eric Chavez, Jayson Nix — Wednesday’s hero with a three-run double — and Ramiro Peña, who was called up to replace A-Rod on the roster and arrived about an hour after the first pitch.

Peña hit .249 for Triple-A Scranton in 80 games but is solid defensively, capable of playing third, short and second. Eduardo Nuñez is not yet an option, Cashman said, because he recently came off the DL after a hand injury. Nuñez’s struggles in the field are what got the 25-year-old old, whose bat has some pop, demoted in early May.

The Brewers are shopping third baseman Aramis Ramirez, whom one talent evaluator said the Yankees like but “at the right price.” There have been discussions about the Padres’ Chase Headley but the price there, too, is currently prohibitive.

Among the other names to watch are the Phillies’ Ty Wigginton or the Rockies’ Marco Scutaro, who has played second and short this season but has previous experience at third.

As of now, Cashman said he’s “confident” in what he has, starting with Chavez, 34, who has a long history of injuries.

One opposing team scout said, “It’s not mandatory they get someone,” but questioned if Chavez could stay healthy if he’s sent out four or five days a week.

And Joe Girardi acknowledged recently he would check with Chavez frequently.

“You just have to be smart about it,” Girardi said.

As for A-Rod, Dr. Michelle Carlson, orthopedic hand surgeon at Hospital for Special Surgery, said an athlete with his injury is looking at the time frame Cashman laid out.

“That it’s a non-displaced fracture is a better prognosis than if it was displaced,” Carlson said.

In a non-displaced fracture, the bone cracks but stays aligned and rarely requires surgery.

“Most heal in 3-4 weeks,” Carlson said of the kind of non-displaced fracture A-Rod suffered. “Then it’s a week to four weeks to get the range of motion back and get the strength back.”

After Wednesday night’s game Rodriguez said “it’s hard to put into words” how devastated he felt but vowed a return this season.

“I have to talk to Ahmad but I certainly expect to come back and come back strong,” A-Rod said. “The one good thing here is we play through the end of October.”

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