Post-ASG return eyed for A-Rod

The surgery on Alex Rodriguez's damaged left hip "went as planned and without complication," according to a news release from the New York Yankees, who expect to have their $275 million third baseman back on the field sometime after the All-Star break.

Wednesday's surgery to repair a torn labrum and an impingement in the hip socket was performed by Dr. Bryan Kelly of the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan.

Rodriguez is expected to be released from the hospital Thursday and will begin a supervised rehabilitation program under Kelly and a physical therapist. It is expected that a full recovery will take six months, which will put Rodriguez's return at about his 38th birthday on July 27.

It is the second time in less than four years that Rodriguez, who has $114 million and five years remaining on his contract, has undergone hip surgery. Rodriguez previously had surgery prior to the 2009 season to repair a torn labrum in his right hip.

On a conference call with reporters last week, Kelly had said that "optimistically," Rodriguez could be back after the All-Star break in 2013.

"The big question is, how much cartilage damage is there, and how much unfixable damage is there?" he said then, and described the two-hour operation as "very technically challenging."

He said the surgery, an arthroscopic procedure, involves making three small incisions in Rodriguez's hip, penetrating three layers of muscle, inserting a camera to assess the damage, implanting an anchor in the top of the hip and reattaching the torn labrum to it, reshaping the femoral head of the hip to provide greater range of motion, and finally, repairing as much of the cartilage damage as possible.

"We can definitely fix two of the three problems, the impingement and the labrum," Kelly said last week. "But the cartilage is a permanent injury, and we won't know how extensive it is until we get in there."

The release put out by the club Wednesday made no mention of the extent of cartilage damage.

Rodriguez struggled mightily, and generated controversy, this past October. He went 5-for-43 with 18 strikeouts and was pinch-hit for three times. During one of the games, he sent a note to a woman sitting behind the Yankees' dugout, asking for her phone number.

After the first time manager Joe Girardi put in a pinch hitter for Rodriguez, the slugger said his hip was not functioning correctly. An examination did not reveal an injury. It was not until the offseason that the injury in his left hip was found.

"The biggest obstacle that I see is that we really have to manage a lot of issues," Kelly said last week. "I like to tell people six months is a reasonable time frame for return to play. It would be great if he returns faster. But it's possible it will take longer."