The optimism Derek Jeter’s spring debut brought to the New York Yankees is receding after the legendary shortstop’s ankle injury forced him back onto the bench, but there is still no reason for the ball club to worry at this point.
USA Today’s Chad Jennings reported the following on Jeter’s setback: "New York manager Joe Girardi said that Jeter was flexing the ankle a lot during batting practice. Jeter eventually went to trainer Steve Donohue, who then told Girardi, who made the lineup change."
Jeter broke his ankle in the first game of the American League Championship Series but was able to return to the lineup for his first spring training game on March 9, just under five months after his injury.
On March 14, he was allowed to take up his usual position at shortstop. Up until this point, Jeter had been making stellar progress in the rehabilitation process.
After 18 years and 2,743 total games in those iconic pinstripes, Jeter has achieved superhero status. Every time he puts on his Yankee uniform, he goes from Clark Kent to Superman.
But he is 38 years old and coming off of a major injury. Jeter’s ability to recover quickly from injuries is not the same as it was a decade ago, and he knows this.
Jennings quotes him saying, "'I'm not concerned, because I was told this was going to happen." Jeter is aware that there will be days where his ankle simply won’t let him play pain-free.
The Yankees wasted no chances and rushed him in for an MRI, and it revealed what Jeter suspected.
The Wall Street Journal’s Daniel Barbarisi reported the following via Twitter:
Jeter had an MRI on his balky ankle - came back okay, found mild imflammation. Yankees are listing him as day to day.— Daniel Barbarisi (@DanBarbarisi) March 19, 2013
With Opening Day still two weeks away, there is no reason to push his limits. Pennants are not won or lost in April, and Jeter appears to have recognized that his most important task is to be fully healthy for the fall.
His absence is not a reason for Yankees fans to worry, and there still should not be cause for concern if he sits out for another few games. This is part of the rehab process for an older player, and Yankees fans should remain calm for now.