Will Derek Jeter or Alex Rodriguez Have More Impact on Yankees When They Return

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Will Derek Jeter or Alex Rodriguez Have More Impact on Yankees When They Return
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Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez are getting close to returning to the New York Yankees starting lineup.

Both Jeter and A-Rod have taken batting practice and are returning to baseball form, but will either have the same effect on the team that they have had in years past?

Jeter was taking swings and fielding balls on June 10, according to ESPN.

Jeter took 25 dry swings and fielded 20 grounders hit right at him in Tampa on Monday. He also played long toss from 180 feet.

Jeter, who hasn't played yet this season, will continue to gain further clearance with the consultation from the Charlotte-based Dr. Robert Anderson, who performed the procedure last October.

While his timetable is still unclear, Jeter is making progress. He was taking batting practice in Tampa on Wednesday and appears ready for a comeback right after the All-Star Break. I expect to see him in the lineup around July 25 or so.

Jeter will need further time to continue drills in Tampa, followed by a rehab stint, possibly starting with the Yankees' High-A team to start. It will be spring training all over again for Jeter, so it won't be a quickie five-game rehab.

A-Rod, on the other hand, had been working out for a few days before Jeter started, per the New York Daily News.

At the Yanks’ minor league complex, Rodriguez added six sprints around the arc of the back of the infield to his usual workout. In the five weeks he has been working out during his rehab from hip surgery, A-Rod had run only in a straight line. Running along the arc may be a precursor to running the bases.

A-Rod also threw long toss on Friday, took grounders hit right at him on his knees and from a standing position and took about 60 swings in 20-25 minutes of batting practice. The ball came off his bat much better than it did Wednesday — about 14 went over the fence at Field One of the complex — and he hit with power from left-center to right-center.

Rodriguez's return date is even harder to predict than Jeter's, but I'm guessing he'll be back in July as well.

The real question is which guy's return will mean more for the team. The Yankees' long list of injuries is almost a joke, but no one's laughing.

Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

When Jeter comes back he will take over a shortstop position that has been a nightmare for the Yanks. After he went down himself, Eduardo Nunez also found the DL, and now Jayson Nix and Reid Brignac are attempting to fill Jeter's shoes.

ESPN quoted Yankees GM Brian Cashman saying "we are running guys out there" when talking about the shortstop position.

While Jeter will turn 39 on June 26, his return will be met with great joy, as the team has struggled to find a consistent shortstop all year.

A-Rod might not be welcomed back so graciously.

Al Bello/Getty Images

While the Yankees desperately need a third baseman who is better at the plate than David Adams, Rodriguez might not even play this year due to the Biogenesis Scandale, which will "likely" lead to an A-Rod suspension of 100 games.

This leaves Rodriguez's future with the team in doubt, and even if he does return he could be off the roster at any minute.

Howie Rumberg of the Associated Press has said that the distraction of the scandal won't likely affect Rodriguez in terms of play.

A Lightning Rod for all the wrong reasons, none of the off-field distractions — and there have been plenty — have seemed to have had any effect on A-Rod in the past.

It shouldn't be any different this time.

However, the real problem is that Rodriguez might not even stay on the field, and having the knowledge that he could disappear at any time is not something that the team wants hanging over its head.

With Jeter coming back to a position that will be completely his, A-Rod potentially being done for the season due to suspension and the fact that he may not even be able to play the field on a regular basis, there is no doubt that Jeter's return will mean much more for the Yankees.

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