TAMPA, Fla. (AP) – Yankees general manager Brian Cashman thinks he’s unlikely to acquire a fill-in third baseman to replace Alex Rodriguez.

“I’m not optimistic about doing anything,” Cashman said before the Yankees played Cincinnati on Tuesday night. “I’m not going to be proactive in trying to do something. If something represents itself that makes sense, then maybe it will be different. I think our answer is here in camp.”

Rodriguez had arthroscopic surgery Monday to repair torn cartilage in his right hip, and doctors said they found nothing that would keep him from returning to the lineup in May.

The top internal candidate to start opening day at third is Cody Ransom, who has seven home runs and 24 RBIs in six major league seasons. Cashman said he has not spoken to any other general manager about a third baseman.

, but he has heard from the agents of some free agents.

Cashman expects the three-time AL MVP back on the field in May. Rodriguez will need a more extensive operation after the season.

Dr. Marc Philippon, who operated in Vail, Colo., predicted Rodriguez will “absolutely” be ready for spring training in 2010.

Rodriguez is expected to spend a few weeks rehabilitating in Colorado, then will return to the Yankees’ spring training complex in Florida when he is ready for baseball drills.

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