The Yankees were being patient with Derek Jeter and his surgically repair ankle, but he suffered a setback today when he was scratched from the lineup and sent to the doctor with stiffness, according to Chad Jennings of the Journal News.
“We’ve got to find out what we’re dealing with and go from there,” Girardi said.
This is scary though. Worse case scenario — Jeter lands on the DL for an extended period of time and the Yankees are forced to go with Eduardo Nunez every day. Best case scenario is obviously that this is just a blip, he misses a day and nothing more. However, even if he doesn’t land on the DL with this it is scary because it could still force the Yankees to use Nunez more than they planned.
Even if he missed no time at all it seems hard to imagine he doesn’t at least lose a step or two while dealing with lingering ankle injuries. A loss of a step or two could be the last of Jeter-the-shortstop that we see considering he ranked 3rd worst in MLB with a negative-16.6 range UZR last season. At a certain point, even if he’s physically able to play he won’t be capable of playing shortstop.
Ankle injuries do tend to linger too. Just look at David Adams or Ravel Santana. Adams was nearly included in a 2010 trade for Cliff Lee, but the Mariners reconsidered due to an ankle injury. That injury ended up lingering into the 2012 season. Santana also dealt with an ankle injury that took him from one of the more exciting prospects in the organization to a guy who hit just .216/.304/.289 in short season Single-A last year.
If this does linger all season and Jeter is limited to 80-100 games at short, or fewer, it creates a big question as to how The Captain will get at bats. A move to third seems reasonable but unlikely because learning a new position while dealing with this could be too much to ask. He could DH occasionally, and probably will, but if Travis Hafner is healthy the Yankees will be desperate for his power in a lineup that could be without A-Rod and Teixeira until the All-Star break.
There is also the question about who plays short? Nunez seems the most likely candidate, but it really didn’t take long for the Yankees to get fed up with his poor defense last season. Could they stand it on an every day basis? Hard to say. They may not have other options. There is Jayson Nix, but he really struggles against righties.