Alex Rodriguez played Santa and gave presents to a group of lucky kids at a toy giveaway in Miami on Saturday, but it was the New York Yankees who got a visit from Christmas past when A-Rod vowed to return from upcoming hip surgery in enough time to lead the team to the World Series — just like in 2009.
The Yankees 37-year-old third baseman, who is scheduled for surgery in mid-January to repair a torn labrum in his left hip, said he will rebound from last year's forgettable season and be back at the plate in time for the playoffs.
"Look, I know it's a challenge to get to the World Series and I know it's going to be a long road back," Rodriguez told reporters at the Boys & Girls Club of Miami-Dade Saturday. "But my job as a leader is to help my team to the championship no matter what."
Rodriguez just endured a coal-worthy post-season after a not-so-nice 2012 regular season campaign. The Yankees slugger batted a miserly .120 (3-for-25) with no RBI in the playoffs and manager Joe Girardi actually benched and pinch-hit the slugger multiple times.
"It was definitely an unfortunate situation," said Rodriguez. "And if we knew, I think we could have avoided the bloody bath of the last two weeks. Obviously, it wasn't fun. It was quite miserable, to be honest with you."
A-Rod informed the Yankees he was experiencing problems with his surgically-repaired right hip after he was pinch-hit for in Game 3 of the ALDS. An MRI revealed no damage but further examination revealed the torn labrum, cyst and bone impingement on the left side. But A-Rod sounded confident that if he came back from the operation before, he could do it again.
The 14-time All-Star returned from his 2009 surgery in only two months and hit 30 home runs and knocked in 100 RBIs during the regular season. The Yankees went on to win the World Series.
"We have a lot of great talent on this team," said Rodriguez. "We are the New York Yankees . . . don't count us out."
Hopefully for Yankees fans, Christmas future includes a one-year deal with Kevin Youkilis as insurance.