TAMPA, Fla. -- Alex Rodriguez has expressed his excitement in being selected to play for the Dominican Republic, but a troublesome hip may force the Yankees to recommend that he ultimately steer clear of the World Baseball Classic.
Rodriguez has been playing with a cyst in his right hip, and was expected to fly to Colorado on Wednesday to meet with a specialist at the Vail-based Steadman-Hawkins Clinic.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi said that the club would take that evaluation into consideration, but it appears likely that the club will encourage Rodriguez to bow out of the tournament to ensure he will be healthy for the regular season.
"We have to err on the side of caution for the Yankees," Girardi said. "But we'll let the hip specialist determine if he's ready to play Saturday. We'll take his suggestions."
The Yankees announced on Tuesday that Rodriguez will be examined and evaluated by Dr. Marc Philippon. Rodriguez was examined by a team physician, Dr. Chris Ahmad, on Saturday in Tampa, where an MRI revealed the formation of an internal cyst.
Dr. Ahmad told the Yankees that Rodriguez could play through the issue. Girardi said that Rodriguez had expressed feeling "a little stiffness" at various times dating back to last season.
"There wasn't really any pain -- just some mild stiffness," Girardi said. "He was doing a lot of stretching and worked on it this winter as well. We just want to make sure that we're doing the right things with this."
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman was traveling from the Dominican Republic to Florida on Wednesday and is expected to be unavailable for comment.
Rodriguez has played regularly this spring, including going 1-for-3 with a double and a run scored in Tuesday's Dominican Republic exhibition against the Marlins. He left the Yankees on Sunday after playing in New York's Grapefruit League loss to the Reds at Sarasota, Fla.
Girardi said that he has some level of concern with the outcome of Rodriguez's examination on Wednesday, but he believed the third baseman's continued play on the field to be promising,
"The fact that he didn't have a lot of pain is a little bit more comforting," Girardi said. "If he had pain, I'd probably be more concerned. He's been able to play at a high level.
"It hasn't kept him from doing anything, driving the baseball, moving at third base, running. That's a good sign."
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.