Alex Rodriguez is smarting, not smiling, because of an ailing hip

UPDATE: Yahoo! Sports' Gordon Edes is among those reporting that Alex Rodriguez plans to see a specialist because a cyst was found in his right hip. A-Rod will visit Dr. Mark Phillipon in Vail, Colo. on Wednesday.

A-Rod's participation in the World Baseball Classic, and perhaps more, in jeopardized.

He made no mention of his hip in the press conference pictured above. He walked without a noticeable limp after hitting a double in the Dominican Republic's exhibition win Tuesday.

This has been a winter to forget for Rodriguez, who... well, you know. Hope he's OK. Anyway, here's the report from earlier:

Happy days are here again, apparently, for Alex Rodriguez, who is smiling away, playing ball and grateful for the friendship of David Ortiz of the otherwise hated Red Sox.

Rodriguez, many believe, is one of them "handsome Dans" (are those perfect teeth, or what?). But he's also working on some crow's feet under the eyes. Something keeping him up at night?

A couple of days after meeting with investigators from Major League Baseball looking into his possible steroid associations, Rodriguez cracked a big smile (that somehow I got on film) when talking about Cousin Yuri Ortiz.

Rodriguez, playing for the Dominican World Baseball Classic squad in Jupiter, Fla., said Ortiz — who had called for drug cheaters to be suspended for a year — has been supportive.

"Dave is my brother; I consider him a true friend, not only in baseball but in life," Rodriguez said. "Lots of phone calls, lots of e-mails, lots of texts. Sending words through mutual friends. And he always has a big smile and a hug waiting for me."

Rodriguez recalled they both began — but never played together — in Seattle's system. Both passed through Appleton, Wis. on the way to the majors. (Tell me, again, why the Mariners AND the Twins gave up on Papi?)

"I always remembered, when he was in 'A' ball, that he was going to be something special," Rodriguez said. "Obviously not that special, and I never knew he would cause me so much pain."

Big O on A-Rod, from Newsday:

"People need to realize he's a great player, man," Ortiz said. "He has done a lot of good things for the game, and he admitted what he did. And it takes guts to get to the point, especially a guy that's having an unbelievable career like him. I guess this is the time for him to keep his confidence, let him know that he's a great player and, no matter what, we're going to get his back."

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