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New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman answers questions concerning third baseman Alex Rodriguez at the baseball winter meetings on Monday, Dec. 3, 2012, in Nashville, Tenn. Rodriguez will have surgery on his left hip and will miss the start of the season and possibly the entire first half, the Yankees said Monday. (Mark Humphrey/AP)
New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman answers questions concerning third baseman Alex Rodriguez at the baseball winter meetings on Monday, Dec. 3, 2012, in Nashville, Tenn. Rodriguez will have surgery on his left hip and will miss the start of the season and possibly the entire first half, the Yankees said Monday. (Mark Humphrey/AP)

Jeff Blair

Many tunes being played at MLB meetings in Music City, USA Add to ...

Brian Cashman clearly wasn’t fibbing Monday, when he said he had been operating under the assumption that he would have to make this type of announcement:

New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez will be out at least for the first half of the 2013 season, following arthroscopic surgery on his left hip planned for January.

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Cashman, the Yankees general manager, held a news conference here after the New York Post rocked the first day of baseball’s winter meetings with details of Rodriguez’s injury: a torn labrum, bone impingement and cyst in his left hip. No wonder he stunk during the playoffs.

“I’ve been operating under the idea this was a realistic possibility,” Cashman said, as the entire industry immediately tossed the Yankees into the rumour mill.

The Yanks already have shortstop Derek Jeter rehabilitating from a broken ankle, and age has frayed other corners of the roster.

But they were not popping champagne corks in the Toronto Blue Jays executive suite. GM Alex Anthopoulos still thinks New York is the team to beat, but he did admit he’d heard “grumblings” about a possible Rodriguez injury for a while.

Anthopoulos apologized in his daily media briefing that he had nothing to report – which, of course, means something must be happening. This much we did find out, in addition to the fact the team claimed a fifth catcher, 33-year-old Eli Whiteside, on waivers:

First, Blue Jays catcher J.P. Arencibia is tired of all the trade rumours.

Arencibia, who lives in Nashville, dropped by the Opryland Hotel and said: “I know I’m going to be with the Blue Jays all year.” He wouldn’t elaborate. But when asked if the chances were better of him having a multiyear contract by 2013 opening day than being traded, Arencibia said: “That’s a tough question. I’ll just say I’m not going to be traded, and leave it at that.”

A half-hour later, Jim Duquette, the former New York Mets GM who is now with the MLB Network, tweeted the Blue Jays were one of the teams in the running for Mets knuckleballer R.A. Dickey and that Arencibia was part of the package.

Second, Casey Janssen’s grip on the Toronto closer’s spot is not iron-clad.

Indeed, it was apparent from both manager John Gibbons and Anthopoulos that if Sergio Santos (shoulder) is healthy, he could press Janssen.

“We need to find out where Sergio’s at, whether coming out of the gates he’s healthy enough,” Gibbons said.

Third, Adam Lind, whose splits have screamed platoon for a couple of seasons, will see a great deal of left-handed pitching in spring training. Having said that, Anthopoulos is looking to add a right-handed bat, which suggests the 25th man on the roster is not yet under contract.

Fourth, Anthopoulos continues to look for power bullpen arms, possibly by trade. But it would be a surprise if the Blue Jays get in a bidding war for starting pitching depth. The GM will instead look to bring in pitchers on minor-league deals to stock the Jays’ Triple-A affiliate in Buffalo.

“We have five established starters in our rotation right now,” Anthopoulos said. “The fact there’s not a lot of upper-level depth, anybody can look at it and say ‘I’m one pitch away from being called up,’ or ‘one 6.00 ERA from being called up.’”

Lastly, Arencibia is excited about the new-look Blue Jays, who added Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, Jose Reyes, Emilio Bonifacio and John Buck in last month’s blockbuster trade with the Miami Marlins. He agreed that Buehrle, a veteran left-hander, could be exactly what four-year starter Ricky Romero needs. “Somebody to help him slow the game down,” Arencibia said.

As for his own future?

“At the end of the day, I know I’ll have a career in baseball,” he said. “Now, that being said, I know that I’m going to be with the Blue Jays. I’ve been born and raised with the Blue Jays, and that’s where my loyalty is and where my heart is. I won’t buy into [trade rumours] until the day I’m asked to take off the uniform. Then, we can talk about it.”

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