Jeter won’t be kept on the bench
Here is the deal with Derek Jeter. If he can stand, he can play.
That is the attitude the Captain is taking as he deals with a bone bruise in his left ankle. He was in the lineup again Friday night as the designated hitter for the Yankees against Rays lefthander David Price, the pitcher against whom Jeter got his 3,000th career hit 14 months ago.
That five-hit game July 9, 2011 was the starting point of this wonderful turnaround for Jeter, who has played more like a 28-year-old than the 38-year-old he is. He batted .338 from that point to the end of the season and has continued throughout this year, moving up the all-time hits ladder to the front gate of the top 10 where with his next hit will pass the legendary Willie Mays.
In 870 at-bats from the 3,000-hit game, Jeter has hit .328 with 44 doubles, four triples, 19 home runs and 96 RBI, which is nothing short of amazing. So even with an ankle that is nowhere near 100 percent, Jeter wants to keep playing, and the Yankees want to keep playing him.
Manager Joe Girardi monitors Jeter on a daily basis, which can be a task considering Jeter will concede nothing to his condition. He comes to the ballpark expecting to play and usually does. Girardi has the safety net of the designated hitter position in the American League at his disposal to keep Jeter atop the batting order.
When Jeter next plays shortstop is harder to say. He is not running at full speed by any means but contends the ankle does not bother him as much in the field as it does running the bases. “I was going back onto the field when they pulled me back, remember?” Jeet said about being taken out of Wednesday night’s game at Boston.
At a time when players are kept on the bench for the mildest of ailments, how refreshing to see Jeter’s attitude about playing every day, an attitude straight out of, well, Willie Mays.