Jeter pinch hit for in 8th due to tightness in quad... Will have test... Girardi said Jeter said he could play tomorrow #yankees— Meredith Marakovits (@M_Marakovits) July 11, 2013
While Jeter believes he'll be fine for Friday's game, one has to wonder: Is the Yankees' brass to blame for rushing him back?
Jeter had nine at-bats in four rehab games, going 1-for-9 with two runs scored and four walks.
After injuring his ankle in last year's ALCS, things seemed to be going smoothly for Jeter as he rushed to return for Opening Day. However, he developed a new fracture in his broken ankle, setting him back until now.
While the ankle isn't the problem here, was four games really enough for Jeter to get back into playing shape?
Sure, he's been in the batting cage and played in simulated games, but prior to Thursday, he had four days of in-game action.
Jeter has been sidelined from game action for the majority of an eight-month period. He played in five spring training games with 11 at-bats before developing the new fracture.
In total, Jeter had 20 at-bats in a live game between Game 1 of the ALCS and Thursday.
Full Rehab Assignment
Yankees teammate Alex Rodriguez has said in the past that he's likely to use up all 20 of his rehab games.
ESPNNewYork.com's Wallace Matthews states Jeter never played back-to-back games at shortstop.
But once again, he never played back-to-back games at shortstop nor has he played more than five innings in the field. But with the Yankees suffering an inordinate number of injuries this season—they have had 16 players on the disabled list this season—it was determined that the rewards of having Jeter back would outweigh the risks.
Knowing this, why did the Yankees bring him up? For your starting shortstop who you want to play every day, wouldn't you want to see if he could play in back-to-back games?
Something doesn't seem right there.
Yankee Injuries Had A Lot to Do With It
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman admitted in an interview with Matthews that Jeter was being brought back sooner than the team preferred.
"He hadn't completed the whole profile we had set up for him in his rehab, but the roster changes that occurred in the game last night made us do some adjustments along the way,'' Cashman said. "He'll have to finish off his rehab in the big leagues.''
Due to injuries to Travis Hafner and Brett Gardner, the Yankees decided to go ahead and call up Jeter to play DH—instead of him being the DH in Triple-A on Thursday.
With all of the injuries the Yankees have dealt with this year, if they moved Jeter through rehab so quickly, then why aren't they doing the same with Rodriguez?
Yes, it's a different story and a different injury, but if injuries were the reason why Jeter was called up early, then some will wonder why not A-Rod.
After all, Rodriguez is stinking up the minors just as much as Jeter was.
Jeter Wanted to Come Back
According to ESPN New York's Ian Begley, Jeter pushed Cashman to return ahead of the timetable set by the team.
"I'm trying to push to get there today, but I don't think I can make it today. So it's whenever they say," Jeter said before the RailRiders' game against Rochester. "Really, I don't know what else to say. I'd like to be there now, but I'm not, so as soon as I'm allowed to get up there, I'll get up there."
So, it's easy to place the blame on Jeter since he so desperately wanted to come back.
But that's taking the easy way out.
Did the Yankees rush Derek Jeter back too soon?
Yankees Brass to Blame
While the ankle seemed to be fully healthy, the Yankees brass are still to blame for this, despite what Jeter wanted.
Management's job is to save players from themselves.
Sure, it's only quad tightness, but you have to remember: Jeter is 39 years old. He doesn't stretch out as fast as the younger players, and he clearly needed more time to get his muscles into playing condition.
At the very least, he needed to start back-to-back games at shortstop.
Now the question has to be asked: Will Jeter experience problems with his quad all season?
Cashman dropped the ball on this one, and it could come back to bite the Yankees.
While it's understandable the Yankees wanted their captain back—especially considering they were six games out of first place in the AL East entering Thursday—the risk of another injury is too much to bear.
Cashman should have had Jeter play multiple games at shortstop to test him in every way possible before bringing him back to New York.
Because he didn't do that, Jeter could be subject to injuries all year.