The much maligned Rodriguez underwent successful hip surgery on a torn labrum last week, and depending on how he recovers, could be inactive upwards of six months to a year, according to Cashman.
"Yeah, I think because of the serious nature of the surgery and the condition he's trying to recover from, ya know, there is that chance," Cashman said according to the New York Post. "I would say it's not going to be because Alex doesn't do everything in his power to put himself in a position to get back and be healthy and productive.
"Best-case scenario he should be back, worst-case scenario he won't be back or there might be something in between," Cashman said. "But these are unique circumstances and new experiences injury-wise that has a very small history behind it in the last decade or so. It's kind of an evolving situation.”
Originally, Rodriguez was expected to return in July, but Cashman’s comments painted a more cautious picture of when the slugger will actually return to action. The Yankees are clearly looking for more options in the event that Rodriguez cannot play in 2013, which could put more pressure on newly signed third baseman Kevin Youkilis.
New York signed Youkilis for one year at $12 million as insurance, but perhaps by default in a relatively weak third baseman market.
Rodriguez, set to make $28 million next season, faced the wrath of Yankee fans last season for his lack of clutch hitting and for posting the second lowest OPS of his career. While battling injuries last season, the three-time MVP and 14-time All-Star hit .272 with 18 home runs and 57 RBIs in 122 games.
After a 17-game home-run drought and a .250 average in September, Rodriguez was pulled from the Yankees lineup during the playoffs in favor of Raul Ibanez, who stepped up with a .318 average, three home runs and five RBIs in eight postseason games.