Derek Jeter Injury: Is This the New Normal for the Yankees Captain?

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Derek Jeter Injury: Is This the New Normal for the Yankees Captain?
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As tough as it is for baseball fans to come to terms with, Derek Jeter's injury issues appear to be the new normal for the aging superstar of the New York Yankees.

According to Mike Axisa of CBSSports.com, Jeter will miss this weekend's games against the San Diego Padres due to multiple issues with his right leg, including a lingering quad injury that originally halted his return this season after just one game.

Derek Jeter will not play against the Padres on Saturday or Sunday due to lingering soreness in his right quad, Yankees manager Joe Girardi confirmed. The team captain also has some soreness in his calf.

While the calf problem is nothing to write off as unimportant, what's particularly troubling is that Jeter is having continuous troubles with his right quad. After all, it was the quad injury that stopped him from continuing his original return from last season's major ankle injury.

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Even while rehabbing his ankle, he had a setback in that process, which delayed his return from the start to the middle of the 2013 campaign.

The Yankees captain suffered the quad injury while running to first base back in early July, and it seems to be a nagging issue for the 39-year-old. To make matters worse, Jeter's whole right leg is now acting up, and it couldn't be more concerning for the Bronx Bombers.

Despite the fact that he is just 3-for-15 with one homer and one RBI since his second return, he still stands as the best option the Yanks have at shortstopboth offensively and defensivelywhether you're talking about this season or next.

Losing him once again for an extended period of time will leave the Bombers even worse off offensively than they are now.

Judging from all the setbacks he's had this season, it's clear that the 39-year-old version of Jeter's body isn't healing quite as well as the 29-year-old version would have. As problematic as that is for his prospects moving forward, it is only natural and comes with the territory for elder statesmen in sports.

Sure, some players have managed to stave off Father Time (see: Mariano Rivera), but those cases are rare. And while Jeter has seemed to be immune to everything from injuries to his private life becoming public, not even he can beat the aging process.

It might be hard to accept, but chances are that he has seen his last days as a guy who can play 150 games or more. After all, 2013 will be the first season in his career that he fails to play in at least 100 games.

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Instead, he will likely have to get more days off or at the very least half days off by batting in the designated hitter slot moving forward.

I'm sure Jeter won't come to that realization easily, but he must realize it's what's best for the rest of his career and the team. He wouldn't be the first to accept the fate of old age and won't be the last either.

No timetable has been set for his return, but it could be anywhere from day-to-day to a stint on the disabled list that could end his season early, should it last more than the normal 15-day term.

If the worst-case scenario takes place, the floodgates will open, leading to speculative articles about the potential retirement of the greatest Yankee shortstop of all time.

Not so fast, people. Jeter is a competitor the likes of which we don't get to see regularly, and there's not a chance on this Earth that No. 2 takes this new normal on without a fight.

He will battle to his last physical breath to ensure that he doesn't walk away from the game too early. He is a fighter and will always be one until his last day playing baseball.

Father Time will eventually win the battle, but nature better bring its A-game because Jeter will bring no less than that as he attempts to play into his 40s.

 

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