Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter will be out until at least the All-Star Break after a CT scan revealed a small crack in the same area where he broke his ankle last October. This latest setback will not require surgery, but expect him to be out 2-3 months minimum.
“We have to back off and let that heal,” Yankees GM Brian Cashman told Andrew Marchand of ESPNNewYork.com. “This is obviously a setback. We are looking at, in terms of speculating on when Derek might be back with us, you are looking at some point after the All-Star break.”
Jeter had been overly aggressive about returning right from the start. Even back in October when doctors said it would take 4-6 months to heal, he stated that there was no possibility he wouldn’t be ready for Opening Day. When he pushed himself too hard in Spring Training he denied it and obviously didn’t learn his lesson because he’s had two major setbacks in about a months time.
It’s hard to blame Jeter. He’s never had an injury quite like this before in his entire career and we know he’s an extremely competitive guy. He just doesn’t know or understand the patience it takes to rehab. It’s probably why he threw a few jabs at Carl Pavano during his time with the team.
It should have been the Yankees responsibility to scale Jeter back, but with the future payroll slashing going on the team was very limited in what it could do this past offseason and counted on Jeter to have a big season this year. It’s very likely that they wanted to believe him so bad that, like Jeter himself, they got too excited and let him push himself too hard.
Just look at what happened this week. Jeter’s ankle wasn’t getting better, they gave him two days off to rest, and then just threw him back out there. They should have shut him down completely, had CT scans done a few days ago, and then gone from there. But instead he had another setback and needed to go in for the unscheduled visit to the doctor that revealed the small crack.
Cashman says Jeter will be back around the All-Star Break, but to me this is more like an August return if he even returns at all. When it comes to ankles, which need to be at 100 percent for fielding, hitting, and running, setbacks are unfortunately all too common. At this point it seems like maybe they shouldn’t count on him at all and anything they get from him should be seen as gravy.
Even if they can get him back, Jeter will likely never be the same player he was even last year. A shortstop who never had good range, had poor range last season, and it’ll be even worse whenever he does get back on the field. It’s very possible that, when he does come back, that Jeter will be little more than the right handed side of a DH platoon with Travis Hafner.
The Yankees will stick with Eduardo Nunez as their shortstop, but they should probably look into finding another backup infielder so they are not forced to rely on Jayson Nix too much and don’t have to use Robinson Cano at short or Francisco Cervelli at second base again. It’ll be a minor move, but improving their infield depth is a priority now.
This is a big blow for the Yankees (although that probably goes without saying). He’s a huge emotional leader when he’s on the field and while Nunez had done fine in his absence, especially now that he’s been better in the field, but they have been getting killed against lefties and could really have used Jeet’s bat as a shot in the arm against southpaws.
Hopefully Nunez continues to play well and maybe even get a little bit better if he can stop getting hit by pitches. And hopefully this time Jeter takes it easy with his rehab. The All Star Break is a good goal, but getting him back by mid-to-late August is better than not getting him back at all.