While the Los Angeles Dodgers welcomed back Manny Ramirez, the New York Yankees held out hope for Alex Rodriguez.
The three-time MVP will attempt to play this season with a torn labrum in his right hip, hoping to avoid surgery and a four-month rehabilitation period.
A cyst in the hip was drained Wednesday, and the New York third baseman won't play for the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic. Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said Rodriguez's preference was to try rest and treatment first _ but he still might need an operation.
"There's two courses of action concerning what he has," Cashman said Thursday in Tampa, Fla. "There is treat it conservatively, which would imply rest, exercise and treatment. Or you can treat it aggressively, which is by surgery. At this point in time, we are going to go the conservative route."
The diagnosis by Dr. Marc Philippon, in Vail, Colo., was yet another jolt to Rodriguez during a tumult-filled one-month span in which the slugger admitted using banned drugs from 2001-03 while with Texas.
"He's been through a lot, and you probably can go through the last year that he's been through a lot," manager Joe Girardi said. "He's been pretty good in staying focused in what he has to do. The thing about Alex, we all know how hard he works. He's able to do a lot of things because of his work ethic, and you hope that carries him though this year as well."
Girardi is concerned Rodriguez could start the regular season and then have to be shut down.
"It's not something you necessarily want to think about," Girardi said. "You watch him closely to make sure there is nothing wrong, and I know Alex will be honest with his body. He'll do everything possible to get on the field, but it's worrisome."
Earlier on Thursday, ESPNdeportes.com reported that Rodriguez's brother, Joe Dunand, said the 12-time All-Star was going to have surgery, with a projected 10-week recovery time.
"If at some point it's not working and it's a problem, then the other one becomes more of a choice," Cashman said. "Right now, the route we're going is conservative."
Cashman said the team hopes the cyst was the cause of stiffness that had bothered A-Rod and caused him to see Philippon. Rodriguez was scheduled for additional tests Friday in Colorado.
"Now that it's drained, we're going to see how he responds," Cashman said. "Get a gauge of how much improvement, if at all, there is."
Out in Phoenix, Ramirez and the Dodgers were all smiles.
One day after agreeing to a $45 million, two-year contract, baseball's slugging clown prince arrived at the team's spring training headquarters and said he was looking forward to his first full season in Los Angeles.
Ramirez needed no introduction after leading the Dodgers to the 2008 NL West title by hitting .396 with 17 homers and 53 RBIs in 53 regular-season games. In the playoffs, he batted .520 with four homers, 10 RBIs, nine runs and 11 walks in eight games.
But the Dodgers decided to make his arrival an occasion, and Ramirez didn't disappoint at the news conference with a performance that would have played well in a Hollywood comedy club.
"I'm baaaaack!" he said.
Well, not just yet. Asked when he might make his first spring training appearance, Ramirez replied, "I'm going to take it slow. ... I've got to get my Gold Glove ready, I'm pretty sure, you know that. I've got to save my cannon for the season."
In other news:
_San Francisco released veteran outfielder Dave Roberts, a surprise move that could cost them $6.5 million this season.
_Colorado setup man Taylor Buchholz will miss at least a month with a sprained ligament in his throwing elbow.
_Seattle pitcher Brandon Morrow will skip his next scheduled start after complaining of stiffness in his right forearm.
_Moises Alou said he'll likely turn down offers he has received to play this season, including one from the World Series champion Philadelphia Phillies, and end his 18-year career after the World Baseball Classic.
_Texas right-hander Brandon McCarthy will pitch against Kansas City on Friday after all, in a "B" game on a back field instead of the regular spring training game.
McCarthy played long toss and threw about 15 pitches off a mound Thursday without any problems, a day after the team said he was being scratched from his second exhibition start because of stiffness in his right shoulder.
USA 9, Phillies 6
At Clearwater, Fla., Chipper Jones hit a three-run homer for the United States. Ryan Braun, Brian McCann and Adam Dunn also homered for the American squad, and Jimmy Rollins went 1-for-2 against his teammates.
Canada 6, Yankees 0
At Tampa, Fla., Joba Chamberlain walked four of the five batters he faced and failed to get an out in the first inning. He also allowed a single and was charged with five runs.
Angels 4, Mariners 2
At Peoria, Ariz., Erik Bedard pitched 2 2-3 shutout innings against the AL West champions, striking out three in his second consecutive strong outing.
Brewers 10, Australia 5
At Phoenix, Casey McGehee hit a grand slam and J.J. Hardy also homered for Milwaukee.
Mets 3, Italy 2
At Port St. Lucie, Fla., John Maine walked his first three batters and labored through two scoreless innings. He struck out three.
Mexico 7, Rockies 3
At Tucson, Ariz., Rockies starter Jorge De La Rosa gave up 11 hits and six runs in 2 2-3 innings. Mexico's Scott Hairston hit a two-run double.
Braves 8, Venezuela 4
At Kissimmee, Fla., Jeff Francoeur hit a two-run homer and just missed a second for the Braves.
White Sox (ss) 4, Cubs 3
At Las Vegas, Jeff Marquez turned in his second consecutive scoreless outing, allowing one hit in three innings for the White Sox. Josh Kroeger had three hits and four RBIs.
Aaron Heilman continued to make his case for the final spot in the Cubs' rotation with three scoreless innings. He struck out the side in the second.
Dodgers 5, White Sox (ss) 4
At Phoenix, Dodgers starter Hiroki Kuroda extended a perfect spring, retiring nine of his 10 batters in a sharp, three-inning stint.
Tigers 10, Nationals 2
At Lakeland, Fla., Shawn Hill was scratched from his scheduled start for Washington after feeling discomfort in his right forearm. Jeff Larish hit two homers and a long double for Detroit.
Rangers 4, Padres 3
At Surprise, Ariz., Texas reliever C.J. Wilson came out with a swollen left index finger after facing one batter. Assistant general manager Thad Levine said an X-ray showed nothing broken, but team doctors still needed to evaluate that. He expected an update Friday.
Astros 7, Panama 5
At Kissimmee, Fla., Panama's Carlos Lee went 0-for-2 against his major league club. Houston's Brian Moehler gave up five runs in three innings.
Athletics (ss) 4, Giants 2
At Scottsdale, Ariz., Trevor Cahill, Oakland's top pitching prospect, didn't allow a ball out of the infield in three innings. He finished his outing by striking out the side on fastballs in the third.
Twins 4, Netherlands 2
At Fort Myers, Fla., Kevin Slowey pitched three perfect innings for Minnesota.
Cardinals 4, Dominican Republic 1
At Jupiter, Fla., Joe Mather, Ryan Ludwick and Khalil Mather each drove in a run for St. Louis.
Athletics (ss) 6, South Africa 1
At Phoenix, Bobby Crosby, Jack Cust, Yung-Chi Chen, Josh Donaldson and Sean Doolittle had RBIs for Oakland.
Puerto Rico 9, Red Sox 5
At Fort Myers, Fla., free-agent catcher Ivan Rodriguez had three hits for Puerto Rico.
Reds 10, Pirates 6, 10 innings
At Sarasota, Fla., Nick Masset pitched three scoreless innings in his bid to make Cincinnati's rotation and Darnell McDonald hit a grand slam off Ronnie Uviedo in the 10th.
Orioles 5, Marlins 2
At Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Dan Uggla was 1-for-11 with six strikeouts this spring before homering off Baltimore's Jim Johnson. Uggla also made two errors at second base.
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