Derek Jeter batting second and DHing for Yankees
It has been eight months and 28 days since Derek Jeter last played in a Major League game. That long wait, it appears, is about to be over.
Jeter has been added to the Yankees’ roster for Thursday’s 1:05 p.m. ET game against the Kansas City Royals at Yankee Stadium, ending his Minor League rehabilitation stint. The game will be Jeter’s first since he fractured his left ankle in Game 1 of the American League Championship Series last season.
Jeter had been scheduled to DH for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Thursday, but the Yankees decided to push Jeter’s return up a day after Travis Hafner bruised his left foot hitting in the batting cages on Wednesday evening. Jeter played in four Minor League games, three at shortstop and one at DH, and went 1-for-9 with four walks and three strikeouts.
Jeter will serve as the Yankees’ DH against Kansas City’s Ervin Santana.
Here’s some commentary from Yankees manager Joe Girardi:
On having Jeter back: “It’s nice. It has been a long time. We were expecting it to be Opening Day but he had the setback where he had the new fracture. it’s really nice to be able to put him in the lineup.”
On expectations for Jeter: “We’re not exactly sure. We always expect Derek to play at a high level. But the situation that happened last night with the two guys, one fouling a ball off his foot and the other guy getting hit by a picth, and not sure of the availability of them today, talked to Cash after the game last night, he called Derek to see how he was, and he said great, of course, and so wer’re going to use him as a DH today.”
On playing Jeter at shortstop: “We might have to work to that a little bit, because he has not really been extended in the field, but the situation kind of called for it. It’s kind of the same thing that happened with Nunie in a sense. The situation called for it. There’s one thing that you can’t predict, you can’t predict what was going to happen last night with two of our guys, so I’m not so sure exactly how we’ll do it over the next few days, but we’ve got to be smart about it.”
Here’s Yankees GM Brian Cashman:
On Jeter’s readiness “He’ll finish his rehab off in the big leagues. The roster changes that occurred in the game last night made us do some adjustments along the way, obviously with Hafner going down primarily. Derek was scheduled to DH tonight in Scranton, so when we lost Hafner on a day-to-day situation, right away the thought popped into my head. Had a phone conversation with Gene Michael who was in Scranton. He said he’s moving around well. He looks really good. He hadn’t completed the whole profile we had setup for him in his rehab. I had been staying in touch with Derek. He feels good. The Gardner circumstance too so now Joe is in a situation approaching today in a day game where you lose Gardy as he’s day-to-day, you lose Travis, so Vernon Wells goes out into the outfield. It was just an obvious situation where he can DH tonight in Scranton or he can DH today in New York. Might as well bring him in and DH him in New York. I talked to Derek last night. Got him on the phone probably around 11:15, 11:30 as I was driving home. All I had to hear from him was, ‘Hey, I’m ready.’ And he said that. I said, ‘All right, well, head on back.’”
On Jeter’s excitement: “He’s not an excitable guy. Everyone knows this is where he needs to be, so I think he was just waiting. He knew the game plan, but I also talked to him earlier in the week and said it could be sooner. And it turned out that way based on the circumstances of last night’s game here in the Bronx.”
On expectations for Jeter: “I don’t have any. Bottom line is, Derek, he’s one of the all-time competitors. He’s healthy. He’s moving around well. He’ll have his days when he really helps us. He’ll have other days where obviously the opposing pitcher will dominate those at-bats. That’s the way this stuff works. He’s going to be competing on a daily basis against those opposing pitchers and providing the defense. More times than not, he’ll be extremely good for us. That’s just the nature of the beast. We’re better with him here, period. Regardless of what today’s outcome is. Given the circumstances that occurred yesterday, it’s just better for us to be in a position to run him out here today than hold him off. I know we have some weather issues that could affect us here as well as Scranton. I’d rather have him deal with sitting around and whether he’s going to play or not play in the Bronx vs. Scranton.”