Rushing Derek Jeter Back Before All-Star Break Makes No Sense for Him, Yankees

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Rushing Derek Jeter Back Before All-Star Break Makes No Sense for Him, Yankees
Hunter Martin/Getty Images

Derek Jeter's 2013 debut is on the horizon. According to an ESPN report, the New York Yankees' star shortstop will play against the Kansas City Royals on Thursday. 

While the team can sorely use his bat, the merits of rushing or advancing Jeter's rehab schedule to rejoin the team Thursday seem short-sighted, rushed and impractical.

Instead of clamoring for more offense against the Royals and the lowly Minnesota Twins (the team the Bronx Bombers play next), the Yankees could easily allow Jeter more time to find his timing at the plate, in the field and be at ease over the state of his ankle with more games and innings of minor league competition.

Thus far, Jeter has played a grand total of four games for the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, going 1-for-9 at the dish with four walks. The state of the alternatives, including Eduardo Nunez and a cast of replacement-level players, makes it very possible that a diminished Jeter, even without the luxury of extended at-bats to reclaim his timing, will exceed the production of his replacements from the jump.

While that may be true, it doesn't diminish the risk of rushing him back for a few days. The upcoming weekend series is against Minnesota, a team the Jeter-less Yankees swept on the road just last week.

Of course, in the aftermath of two straight losses to the Royals, mostly on the back of run-scoring failures, visions of Jeter riding in on his white horse to save the day will be conjured up, but allowing the aging captain another week of rehab games would've been the wiser move.

Jeter's current affiliate, Scranton, does have early next week off for the Triple-A All-Star Game, coinciding with the MLB All-Star Game at Citi Field, but that shouldn't have been an impediment to allowing Jeter time to garner more at-bats against live pitching or test his ankle on the field.

Trenton, New York's Double-A affiliate, will play games at Reading on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of next week.

There is little reason to believe that Jeter will re-injure himself in a Major League game more than he would in a minor league game, but why bring about any extra risk in a more competitive environment? 

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More importantly, is Jeter truly ready for the rigors of competitive games against live major league pitching?

If he's not, his leadership and captaincy will mean little if his weekend line against Minnesota reads 0-for-11.

When the story of the 2013 season is written for the New York Yankees, Jeter's impact will play a major part in their quest, successful or not, for a spot in October.

If they had waited until the first series after the break, starting July 19 at Boston, he would have been on the active roster for the final 67 games of the schedule. Returning on Thursday adds a few starts to that number.

Is that enough to rush back a hitter that could be the difference between a postseason berth and watching October baseball from home?


This article was modified from its original version to reflect updates on Jeter's status. Comment below, follow me on Twitter or "like" my Facebook page to talk all things baseball!


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