TAMPA, Fla. – Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez had arthroscopic surgery Monday to repair a torn labrum in his right hip and was projected to return to the team’s lineup in six to nine weeks.

Dr. Marc Philippon performed the 1-hour, 20-minute procedure at Vail Valley Surgery Center in Colorado.

“The surgery went exactly as we planned,” Philippon said during a conference call. “No surprises.”

Other options considered were a more aggressive surgery that would have sidelined Rodriguez up to four months and a conservative approach that would have included rest and treatment.

“There is no doubt in our minds that this was the best option,” Philippon said. “This was the best option for Alex and the Yankees.”

General manager Brian Cashman expects the three-time AL MVP back on the field “sometime in May.” Rodriguez will need a more extensive operation after the season.

Kazmir throws two innings in Grapefruit debut

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. – Scott Kazmir felt so good in his first spring training game that he had to concentrate on taking it easy.

Kazmir pitched two innings in the Tampa Bay Rays’ 4-3 loss to the Minnesota Twins on Monday, yielding one run and three hits.

“Everything felt incredible; that’s seriously the best my arm has ever felt,” he said. “At the same time, I felt like I wanted to take it easy this first start. I knew once I got out there and got a hitter out there in a real game, the adrenaline was going to be there so I didn’t want to overdo it.” Kazmir said he went “about 85 percent,” and it caught up with him in the second inning.

The All-Star left-hander allowed three hits in his last inning of work.

Twins concerned by Mauer’s back pain

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. – Minnesota Twins catcher Joe Mauer has been hampered by back pain, hurting his rehab from offseason kidney surgery.

Mauer, the reigning American League batting champion, will undergo a magnetic resonance arthogram Tuesday. Doctors will inject the All-Star catcher’s back and stomach area with dye as part of the exam.

“We’ve got to figure out what’s going on so we can get him back and get him on the field,” manager Ron Gardenhire said Monday. “This is another effort to try to figure out where we are at and what we need to do. He’s not on the field yet. He’s not able to consistently go out and do anything. Concerned? Yeah.”

Mauer had surgery Dec. 22 to remove a blockage from one of his kidneys and had been limited to working out in the weight room and conditioning drills.

Pirates’ OF Moss has sprained right thumb

PITTSBURGH – The Pittsburgh Pirates say outfielder Brandon Moss has only a bruise and mild sprain of his right thumb and should be ready for opening day.

Moss injured his thumb Saturday and was examined at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh on Monday. He will return to Bradenton and begin working to regain strength in his hand and reduce swelling.

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