Finally done with his stint on the disabled list, Yankee captain Derek Jeter is back in pursuit of hit No. 3,000. Jeter will look to become just the 28th player in baseball history to reach this milestone.
Still, despite the attention surrounding this, Jeter is having a lackluster season, currently batting just .257 with two home runs, 22 RBI and a .320 on-base percentage.
However, Yankee fans can expect Jeter to return to form and raise those numbers by the end of the season.
Playing 162 games in about 180 days is no small task for any player. Despite the occasional day off, Jeter's last stint on the DL was back in 2003, when he separated his shoulder.
Thus far, he's played 2,359 games, and at age 37, it does certainly take its toll. Even if a player isn't on the DL, there are often other nagging issues that they must play through. This time on the DL gives the captain the ability to heal up and refocus.
The New York Yankees have been playing well and have lost just one series in the months of June and July. Although it was to the Boston Red Sox, the Yankees are sitting firmly in first place in the AL East at the moment.
Returning to a confident first place team with momentum will do a lot to take the pressure off of Derek Jeter, as people will be less willing to note the struggles of the Yankee shortstop if the team is winning.
It's pretty common in all sports—approaching a milestone will often cause a player to succumb to nerves and struggle. The Yankees don't have to think back very far to remember the struggles of Alex Rodriguez when he was approaching the 500 and 600 home run marks.
Reaching 3,000 hits is an amazing achievement, and Derek Jeter, especially being in New York, will get additional attention. Being just four hits away at the moment, once Jeter clears that milestone, the pressure will lessen dramatically and the Yankees can just focus on winning games.
Derek Jeter is a career .312 hitter. In 2009, he hit .334 and finished third in MVP voting. He's won four Silver Slugger awards in the past five seasons, five Gold Gloves and is a 12-time All-Star.
And don't forget the five World Series Championships.
Not only is Jeter incredibly talented, but he's the face of the Yankees and means more to his team than just the numbers he puts up. That being said, he is clearly capable of more than what he's currently producing.
His 162 game average is 79 RBI and 16 HR with a .832 OPS. Currently sitting on just 22 RBI, 2 HR and a .644 OPS, Jeter will almost certainly get closer to those career numbers before the season is out.