Brian Cashman thinks A-Rod will play

New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said there is "a chance" that Alex Rodriguez's hip surgery could keep him out for the entire season.

"It is possible," Cashman said on ESPN New York 98.7 FM's "Michael Kay Show." "It is a very complicated surgery. Any time someone has a surgery, there is always a chance there are complications. That didn't take place in this case. But is it possible? Sure, it is possible, but is it likely? I don't think so."

The Yankees' anticipation and hope is that Rodriguez will return after the All-Star break. Rodriguez, 37, underwent hip surgery on Jan. 16. Dr. Bryan Kelly, who performed the surgery, has previously estimated that "optimistically" Rodriguez should return after the break. The expected rehab time, according to Kelly, is six months from the date of the surgery.

Yankees president Randy Levine spoke to the New York Daily News on Friday and backed up Kelly's word.

"(Dr. Kelly) has assured me that as long as Alex does the rehab, he will be back playing -- and not spring training playing -- six months from the day of the operation."

Earlier Friday on WFAN Radio, Cashman responded to a question about Rodriguez possibly missing the whole season by saying there is a "chance." Prior to the surgery, Cashman had told ESPN New York that Rodriguez possibly could miss the whole year because of the unknowns of surgery.

The Yankees signed free agent Kevin Youkilis to a one-year, $12 million contract to fill-in for Rodriguez. Throughout the free agent process, both Cashman and manager Joe Girardi raised the possibility that whomever replaced Rodriguez could be the third baseman the whole season.

Kelly performed the surgery on Rodriguez's left hip. Rodriguez already had undergone a surgery on his right hip before the 2009 season. He came back strong from that procedure and was the main offensive force in the Yankees winning the World Series that season.

"Are we going to get a return to form of MVP candidacy?" Cashman said on the Kay Show. "Or, are we going to get a well-above average offensive third baseman? Or will you get something less than that? I just don't know."

Rodriguez finished 2012 hitting .272 with 18 homers and 57 RBIs in 122 games. In the postseason, he was pinch hit for and benched in the midst of going 0 for 18 against right-handers, including 12 strikeouts.

At the time, the Yankees thought he was healthy, but found the injured hip following the season.