Derek Jeter is not going to be back by May 1st. That much is sure. Anything other than that is a mystery right now as he and the Yankees are taking things very slow to try to avoid another setback during his rehab from a broken ankle.
Jeet took a full two days off over the weekend. It wasn’t a setback though, that’s just the way it’s going to go from now on — slowly. He’s taking infield practice, but very few ground balls. He’s in the cage for batting practice too, but again, light. Just five rounds, no game action where he’s running the bases or anything. In fact, he still hasn’t run at 100 percent.
“Sometimes I think he can take too many ground balls and we talked about lessening that load,” Girardi told Dan Martin and George King of the NY Post. “Derek is such a creature of habit, to get him to break a cycle is difficult and he’s going to want to do as much as he can, as soon as he can.”
“I don’t think any of us are gonna know the exact date [of his return] until we go through some trial and error,” Girardi said. “We’ll make sure he can do everything before he gets in a game.’’
It’s not hard to see why they’re taking this approach. Jeter was going hard during Spring Training and it cost him probably a month or more. When dealing with surgically repaired ankles they can be very tricky with many setbacks if it is pushed too hard too fast.
The Yankees have a lot on the line because they miss Jeter. They miss him a lot. Eduardo Nunez has been hitting a weak .261/.321/.304. Jayson Nix an even worse .190/.182/.333 and as our own Elizabeth Finn pointed out, the Yankees don’t have much in the way of infield depth behind them either.
It’s one thing to use Robinson Cano at short and Francisco Cervelli at second for one inning, but that shouldn’t be their contingency plan. At this point it still is and even a minor injury could force those two back out at precarious spots again.
So the Yankees will take it very slow with Jeter the rest of the way. He probably doesn’t need the full six weeks of spring training, but don’t expect him to play in a game this week. At this point June 1st seems just as likely as a May 15th return. A July 15th return could really hurt the team though so a slow rehab it will be.
• Curtis Granderson admitted that he’s having trouble being patient while he rehabs his broken forearm because of his impending free agency. Hopefully he’s not too impatient that he causes a setback. He also has not been cleared to hit yet.
• Michael Pineda threw his third bullpen session during his rehab from shoulder surgery. He tossed 35 pitches. Pineda could be ready by June without any setbacks, but my guess is that unless there is a need in the majors the Yankees will keep him in the minors though.
• Cesar Cabral pitched in his second extended spring training game and threw a scoreless inning. He’s on the 60-day DL so he’s not eligible to pitch in the majors until June, but there is no reason the lefty reliever can’t come back as soon as he’s eligible.
• The Yankees sued StubHub for trying to put a ticket office within 1,500 feet of the stadium claiming it violated scalping laws, but the two reached an undisclosed settlement yesterday. We’ll find out who won depending on where that office eventually winds up.
• The Yankees recognized Boston during last night’s game with a sign on the stadium proclaiming “United We Stand”, they also held a moment of silence before the game, and they played “Sweet Caroline” between the third and fourth innings. That’s a classy move even if I completely hate “Sweet Caroline”.
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(February 19, 2013 – Source: Elsa/Getty Images North America)