DR squad moving on sans A-Rod

Third baseman's hip ailment leaves team in need of replacement

Without Alex Rodriguez, the Dominican Republic "needs some bodies," said manager Felipe Alou of their unfortunate roster predicament. (Jeff Roberson/AP)

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JUPITER, Fla. -- The news that broke Thursday morning that Alex Rodriguez's ailing hip will require immediate surgery left manager Felipe Alou and the Dominican Republic's World Baseball Classic team searching for a roster replacement only two days before the team's opener in Puerto Rico.

"We are making some calls, [but] we don't have much time left," Alou said after he heard the news about Rodriguez, who left the team Wednesday to see a hip specialist in Colorado.

Alou said he initially heard that Rodriguez would not be rejoining the team from news reports that began circulating late Thursday morning. The Dominican team was scheduled to catch a flight to Puerto Rico about an hour after their exhibition game Thursday afternoon against the St. Louis Cardinals. The Dominicans' first Classic game is Saturday.

"We need some bodies here," Alou said. "The one thing I've learned about this Classic is that 28 players only to play a spring game is not going to do it. We play against teams that have 55 players."

Alou said the last time he spoke with Rodriguez was Tuesday night, and that Rodriguez told him he planned to return to the Dominican team after he visited hip specialist Dr. Marc Phillipon in Vail, Colo.

"There's no question he wanted to be here," Alou said of Rodriguez. "The last I spoke with him was two nights ago and he said, 'See you at the ballpark.' His stuff is still in the clubhouse."

Dominican team captain Moises Alou said before Thursday's game that he had heard the Dominican team is trying to contact Fernando Tatis to join the team.

"I've been calling him myself," Moises Alou said. "When he returns my call, hopefully he'll say, 'Yes.'"

Miguel Tejada has replaced Rodriguez at third base for the Dominicans the past two days, but the loss of Rodriguez's bat stings the most.

"We were really counting on him," Moises Alou said. "He would have made this lineup a lot better. It's unfortunate. We all wish he was here. We all love Alex. He's going to be missed. We just hope he's going to be OK for the season."

Steve Dorsey is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.