Jeter's new ankle injury jars Yanks • Latino Sports

Baseball

Jeter’s new ankle injury jars Yanks

on

Derek Jeter 5NEW YORK — For Derek Jeter, the break is both bad news and good news.

The bad news is that a small crack was discovered the same area of his ankle where a more serious injury, suffered during the American League Championship Series, had to be surgically repaired.

The good news is the advent of the All-Star Game, to be played at New York’s CitiField July 16, should mark the end of the shortstop’s extended stay on the disabled list.

For the Yankees, losing their leadoff man hurts. Jeter carried a .313 career batting average into the 2013 season and led the league with 683 at-bats and 218 hits last year.

He’ll reach his 39th birthday before he returns to the field — forcing Joe Girardi to rotate Eduardo Nunez and Jayson Nix as temporary fixes.

At 6’3″ and 195 pounds, Jeter resembles a matinee idol. He’s handsome, articulate, and well-spoken. Plus he’s a New Jersey native who has spent his entire career in pinstripes — a rarity in the frentic world of free agency.

But few players this side of Nolan Ryan, Phil Niekro, and Warren Spahn continue to perform at peak level past the age of 40. That feat is even more difficult for position players.

Because playing shortstop requires so many twists and turns, it’s conceivable Jeter will return as a designated hitter — an option open to American League managers. He’ll want to play shortstop, of course, but the glory days of the Yankees’ fabled double-play tandem are probably over.

While Robinson Cano, 30, continues as a viable Most Valuable Player candidate, Jeter is simply a victim of time. It happens to every athlete.

The Yankees’ everyday shortstop since 1996, Jeter got a late start this spring, appearing in early games as a designated hitter before shutting it down again on March 23. If he comes back in mid-July, the Yankees could be out of the title chase.

General manager Brian Cashman has been adept at replacing other fallen stars, notably Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, and Curtis Granderson. Such imports as Kevin Youkilis and Vernon Wells have played well.

But Jeter is impossible to replace, even if Cashman pulls another rabbit out of his hat.

It’s going to be an interesting summer in the Bronx.

 

About Dan Schlossberg

Former AP sportswriter Dan Schlossberg of Fair Lawn, NJ has produced 35 baseball books, including autobiographies of Ron Blomberg, Al Clark, and Milo Hamilton. Also a broadcaster, he is the host and executive producer of Braves Banter and Travel Itch Radio and a contributor to Sirius XM.

Recommended for you