New York Yankees’ captain Derek Jeter hoped to be fully recovered from last year’s broken ankle in the playoffs by the start of this season but has yet to return after facing setbacks late in spring training. The aging superstar has been rehabbing at the Yankees’ training facilities in Tampa, Florida but was in the Bronx last night as his team took on the Toronto Blue Jays.
This was Jeter’s first appearance at Yankee Stadium this season and he sat in the dugout with his teammates throughout the game. The Yankees went on to beat the Blue Jays 5-3 after erasing a 3-0 deficit with three home runs before the fifth inning.
Before the game, Jeter addressed the media about his ankle injury and assured everyone he would return to the field as soon as he could, though he didn’t give a target date.
“I’ve been told this bone will heal, and when it heals, I’ll be ready to go,” Jeter said before the game. “It’s frustrating that I can’t magically make it heal sooner than it’s taking, but I have no doubt I’ll be back.”
The clutch shortstop is set to turn 39-years-old in June, but he believes his injury had nothing to do with his aging or the aches and pains that go along with it.
“”Me breaking my ankle wasn’t just because I was getting older,” he added. “I played on something that I probably shouldn’t have played on and it ended up breaking. It wasn’t because of my ‘advanced’ age that my ankle broke.”
Jeter went on to make it clear that he has no plans of discussing the injury after he returns to the team. It was believed that Jeter would return by May 1st, but that date has since been pushed back and only Jeter knows when he will take the field.
The Yankees have fared quite well without their captain and are currently 2 1/2 games back of the Boston Red Sox for first place in the American League East. The season is still early and the Yankees have over $80 million in salary on the disabled list, though Curtis Granderson and Mark Teixeira are expected to return within the next few weeks.
Jeter is coming off one of the best seasons of his career after leading the MLB in hits and finishing with a .316 batting average in 2012. The king of New York City has never missed more than 43 games in a season while leading the Yankees.
He’s the type of player that can never be told when to retire as his illustrious career has given him that right. Talking retirement with Jeter is like talking small ball with manager Joe Girardi; the discussion rarely comes up and Jeter dismisses any thought once it does.
Can Derek Jeter return to the Yankees and make an immediate impact as the ball club fights to remain in contention in the AL East?
[Image via Keith Allison]