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A-Rod to rehab in New York, not in Florida

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) - Alex Rodriguez will not report to spring training with the Yankees' position players and will work on his rehabilitation from hip surgery in New York.

The third baseman is expected to be sidelined until at least the All-Star break following the Jan. 16 operation.

``I spoke to him last week. He was still barely, I think, on the crutches,'' Yankees manager Joe Girardi said Tuesday during his opening spring-training remarks. ``There's not a lot that he can do here.''

The Miami New Times last month published records that allege Rodriguez purchased performance-enhancing substances in recent years from Biogenesis of America LLC, a now-closed clinic in Coral Gables, near Rodriguez's offseason home.

Rodriguez has denied the allegations. Four years ago, Rodriguez admitted using PEDs from 2001-03 while with the Texas Rangers.

``Him being in New York has nothing to do with trying to get rid of a distraction. It's the best place him for him to be.''

Major League Baseball is investigating the New Times report and hopes to acquire the documents.

``MLB has to go through its steps before any of us are really going to be aware of anything,'' Girardi said. ``I think you're always curious about things that you read about that are potentially damaging to your players and to baseball, of course. My concern is getting him healthy, and that's what I'll focus on. I think that's our team's focus, too.''

New York signed former Boston third baseman Kevin Youkilis to fill in for Rodriguez. Girardi said that when Rodriguez is able to do more, his rehab situation will change.

``I think Alex had somewhat of a special surgery,'' the manager said. ``It's not a hamstring. It's not something we've done a lot of, and we feel at this point the best place for him to be is New York, rehabbing under the doctor's supervision.''

Yankees captain Derek Jeter is coming back from a more common operation, surgery on Oct. 20 to repair a broken left ankle sustained during the opener of the AL championship series against Detroit. The 38-year-old shortstop expects to be ready for the April 1 opener against Boston.

``When you look at our club, Derek has been very important over the years,'' Girardi said. ``And I think we all anticipate that he's going to be back opening day. In my mind, he's going to be an every day shortstop for us, I do.''

Closer Mariano Rivera also expects to be ready for opening day. The 43-year-old closer had surgery June 12 to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee, an injury that occurred while he was shagging fly balls during batting practice in Kansas City on May 3.

``He's had ample time to heal, and I believe he's a great athlete,'' Girardi said. ``I don't think it should affect his pitching.''

Girardi said no decision has been made about potentially switching Curtis Granderson to center field and Brett Gardner to left.

Speaking in the pavillion behind third base during his news conference,

Overall, Girardi feels good about the defending AL East champions.

``This team could win 95 games and get to the World Series, and win the World Series,'' Girardi said. ``There's a lot of talent in that room.''

Notes: Entering the final year of his contract, Girardi is not concerned about his status. ``I'm worried about the next 162 games in front of us and getting to the playoffs, and getting to the World Series,'' Girardi said. ``That's my concern.'' ... Ace CC Sabathia, coming off surgery Oct. 25 to remove a bone spur from his left elbow, could throw off a mound Thursday. ``I never throw off a mound until I get down here, anyway,'' Sabathia said. The left-hander has been playing catch without problems. ... C Francisco Cervelli, alleged by Yahoo Sports to appear on Biogenesis documents, said he will address his situation Wednesday.

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