Derek Jeter: Will the Yankee Shortstop Ever Be the Same?

Gary OusdahlCorrespondent IIApril 21, 2013

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 13:  Derek Jeter #2 of the New York Yankees reacts against the Detroit Tigers during Game One of the American League Championship Series at Yankee Stadium on October 13, 2012 in the Bronx borough of New York City, New York.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Al Bello/Getty Images

Nobody plays the game like Derek Jeter does, and regardless of whether you're a Yankees fan, if you're a lover of baseball, you appreciate his approach to the game and the contributions he's made to the Yankee organization and to Major League Baseball.

However, when Jeter went down last October during the American League Championship Series with a terrifying ankle fracture, many in baseball wondered how quickly he would recover and if he could come back to full form for his 19th major league season.  

As difficult as it is to say, matters have gotten worse.

The 38-year-old Yankee captain learned Thursday that he had re-fractured his left ankle for the second time in six months.  Not only that, but team officials don't expect him to resume rehabilitation duties for at least another four to eight weeks.

With this recent injury, as a fan you have to wonder if this could potentially be the end of the line for the legendary shortstop.  Pretty disappointing to think about, isn't it?

And knowing his drive to compete, I'm sure that no one is more disappointed than Jeter himself. 

So does this mark the inevitable end to such a colorful and decorated career?

Sure, it's inevitable that Jeter is bound to retire at some point in the near future, but no one wants to see him end his Yankee career because of an injury.

Remember a few years back?  Many thought Jeter's skills had already faded after a disappointing 2010 season where he hit .270 on the season, the lowest since his 1995 debut.  

But he shut those skeptics up when he hit .297/.355/.388 with 61 RBI, 84 runs scored and 16 stolen bases in 2011 and followed that up with an even more impressive .316/.362/.429 slash line in 2012 with 15 home runs, 58 RBI, 99 runs scored and a major league leading 216 hits. 

Not quite the numbers you would expect from a player that's "done".

So will Jeter be able to rebound from this latest setback and play the way baseball fans all know he's capable of?

Of course he can—this is Derek Jeter we're talking about here.  Sure, you may see him more at DH than at shortstop, but who cares?  When Jeter is in the lineup, he simply makes the Yankees better, bottom line.

And while we may not see him until sometime after the All-Star break, I'll surely be rooting for his success and hope he is able to stay healthy for the duration of the season and his career.

What do you think?  Will Jeter be able to rebound and play out the rest of his career injury-free?