A-Rod to see hip specialist

The Baltimore Sun

Hours after Alex Rodriguez played yesterday for the Dominican Republic in a tuneup for the World Baseball Classic, the New York Yankees announced that he would have his ailing hip checked by a specialist.

An exam Saturday revealed a cyst in Rodriguez's right hip. The slugger is scheduled to visit Dr. Marc Phillipon today in Vail, Colo.

The third baseman's status for the World Baseball Classic is uncertain.

Rodriguez, 33, felt tightness and stiffness in his right hip this spring and was examined by team physician Chris Ahmad on Saturday, the Yankees said. An MRI exam showed the cyst.

Mets:: New York came to terms with the reality that Johan Santana is not going to be its Opening Day starter April 6 in Cincinnati. Santana will have a bullpen session this morning, but the delay caused by the tightness in his left elbow is going to push him back to the fifth game, Newsday reported. Pitching coach Dan Warthen said Santana is not likely to get into a spring game until March 18, pretty much wiping out any chance of his being ready for Opening Day.

Athletics: : Opting against retirement, free-agent infielder Nomar Garciaparra agreed to a one-year deal with Oakland, Foxsports.com and the San Francisco Chronicle reported. The deal, expected to be between $1.5 million and $2 million guaranteed, will be subject to Garciaparra's passing a physical. Garciaparra, 35, batted .264 in 55 games for the Dodgers last season as he battled knee and calf injuries.

: Bonds:: Now that Barry Bonds' perjury trial has been delayed until at least July, the agent for the home run king plans to contact all 30 major league clubs to determine whether there's a place for the slugger. "I'm still not optimistic," Jeff Borris said. Bonds, 44, last played in 2007 with the Giants.

Ponson: : Former Oriole Sidney Ponson looks at the World Baseball Classic as one big job interview. Ponson, 33, has not signed with a major league team for 2009. The right-hander hopes to attract attention by pitching for the Netherlands in the WBC. "So far, nobody has called," Ponson said. "I definitely don't want to hang up the spikes just yet. I think I still have a lot of baseball in me."

Strawberry: : Darryl Strawberry understands what Alex Rodriguez is going through. On his first day at spring training this year as an instructor with the Mets, Strawberry said he would have been tempted to use performance-enhancing drugs in his playing days. "I'm not saying that was the right thing to do, but people ask me, if I was faced with it, what would I have done? If that was going on in the era of the '80s, it probably would have been in my system, too," he said.

Red Sox: : Brad Penny was scratched from his first scheduled spring training start because of shoulder weakness, and right fielder J.D. Drew went to Boston for an injection in his lower back.

Brewers: : Right-hander Braden Looper (strained oblique) might not be ready for Opening Day. ... Right-hander Yovani Gallardo agreed to a one-year deal.

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