The comeback of Derek Jeter was the focus of the sports world, making his first start of the season on Thursday. Seen by many to be the key to the Yankees second half run at the post season, Jeter suffered an injury just four at bats into his comeback after being rushed back to the line up. A grade 1 strain of his right quad will keep the shortstop on the shelf for another few weeks after heading to the disabled list once again.
Resembling normalcy with their captain finally back in the line up, even if he was just a designated hitter for the night, the Yankees looked like the Yankees, and somehow has become a foreign image this season. That bit of normalcy only lasted one night, and now the new look Yankees will have to keep the treading water for another weeks worth of games a at a minimum.
General Manager Brian Cashman has taken plenty of criticism for rushing Jeter back from injury, and almost accepted the blame himself after the injury was announced.
“I guess it’s all open for questions,” Cashman. “It was my call to move him up [from Scranton] based on what occurred in our game, and I thought it was a safe harbor because it was a DH situation. All the reports were he was running extremely well and responding well. Obviously, the intensity of a major-league environment is obviously more. Certainly, stuff can happen. The quad strain did happen.”
A quad strain could have happened in Scranton if Jeter would continued his normal rehab process and not been rushed back from injury. Perhaps there was no way the 39 year old short stop could have avoided injury and played a game that night. Jeter admits that the pressure of Yankee Stadium played a role in his heading back to the disabled list after just a one game return.
“No disrespect to any rehab assignment that you do, but it’s Yankee Stadium,” Jeter said.
Just a night after Cashman informed the world that “Derek will finish rehab in the big leagues,” he lost his short stop once again. The Yankees need help at the position, and on offense in general. New York is just 12 out of 15 in runs scored, and ranks second from the bottom in OPS by shortstops.
Cashman at least attempted to ease Jeter back into the big leagues, even if he did rush his captain back from injury. He kept Jeter from playing defense, and said that he would not have called him up to the big leagues for anything other than a DH role. He simply overlooked the fact that should he get a hit, Jeter would still have to run around the bases. “It’s not something that entered my mind in any way, that he could actually blow a tire running the bases or stretching things out or what have you. He could do it down there as well as he could do it up here,” Cashman said.
Rushing people back from injury is a risky proposition, a lesson learned by both Jeter and Cashman following Jeter’s return to the disabled list after just one game. “If there was a lesson to be learned on that, moving him up one day, it appeared to be a harmless circumstance at the time,” Cashman said. “But you go through the process for a reason and you set it up for a reason and you adjust when you can. Unfortunately, we had a bad result from yesterday.”
Jeter wanted to play, Cashman wanted him to play, the two convinced one another that this was a good idea, and now have to suffer the consequences. Yankees fans have to hope that the makeshift lineup that has carried the team thus far in the absence of both Jeter and Alex Rodriguez can continue to tread water as the aging stars continue to recover from injuries. If the old Yankees can get back on the field in the near future, this team is still in position to have a shot at the playoffs, however if they can’t come back a run looks unlikely.
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Senior Sports Editor
The Guardian Express