Has Derek Jeter's Window to Be a Healthy, Impact Player in 2013 Officially Shut?

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Has Derek Jeter's Window to Be a Healthy, Impact Player in 2013 Officially Shut?
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Derek Jeter's first half of the 2013 MLB season is over after just eight innings.

The New York Yankees shortstop was returning from the disabled list Thursday when he injured his right quad. This comes less than a game into his 2013 debut after an ankle injury kept him on the DL prior to that point.

It looked like the injury could have been nothing at all for a while, as manager Joe Girardi said that it could have been possible for Jeter to play the next day.

However, it turns out "The Captain" will not play this weekend and will be out until at least after the All-Star break.

The 39-year-old has had a tough year, starting back in Game 1 of the ALCS against the Detroit Tigers when he first fractured his left ankle, requiring surgery. It looked like he could be back for Opening Day 2013, and Jeter was certainly hoping that would be the case.

After being deemed 100 percent healthy in early March, Jeter took part in spring training.

Bad move.

The Star-Ledger-USA TODAY Sports

Jeter reportedly experienced discomfort in his ankle, via Wallace Matthews of ESPN, and a CT scan showed he had a small crack in it, resulting in his trip to the DL.

That small crack turned into a big loss for the Yankees, who were forced to play Jayson Nix, Eduardo Nunez, Reid Brignac and Alberto Gonzalez at shortstop, none of whom hit well or made much of an impact. 

Jeter was sorely missed, and things didn't get better when it became apparent that the Yankees were in desperate need of right-handed hitters. Perhaps the front office was so desperate to have Jeter back that they rushed his recovery, resulting in this second injury.

The original timetable for Jeter after discovering the crack was that he would be back after the All-Star break. However, the team needed him and brought him back on July 11, which may have been too early.

Jeter hadn't been running or physically exerting himself for months when he was cleared to resume baseball activities on June 13. Any player would be out of shape after sitting around for three months, and a shortstop pushing 40 is no different—even if it is Derek Jeter.

The Star-Ledger-USA TODAY Sports

While Jeter was playing extremely well before getting hurt, the injury itself was a result of years of wear and tear on his body. The fact that Jeter has been injured yet again can be viewed in both a positive and negative light.

The good news: It's not the ankle.

The biggest concern for the Yankees was undoubtedly that Jeter's ankle would not be completely healed, as was the case in spring training. However, it looks like the ankle is fine, which means Jeter won't be out for the rest of the year.

The bad news: It's not the ankle.

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This second injury, seemingly unrelated to the first, is also a sign of Jeter's age.

Jeter is declining physically, and suffering another injury on the heels of his return from ankle surgery shows that he is too fragile at this age to consistently compete at a high level.

With injuries plaguing his season and no guarantee that he will come back and produce, Yankees fans must realize their captain is not going to make a big impact down the stretch. 

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