Derek Jeter’s back (again) and the Yankees are almost the Yankees

Mike Oz

Derek Jeter, the hobbled Captain of the New York Yankees, makes his return to the lineup on Monday. Again. For the third time. It's only Jeter's sixth game this season, between those three disabled list trips

And while you can make all the "how long before he gets hurt again?" jokes you want, the most interesting part of Jeter's return is that we're the closest we've been all year to seeing the 2013 Yankees as they were intended.

Jeter's hitting second and playing shortstop, while A-Rod is sharing that half of the diamond with him, playing third and hitting sixth. Curtis Granderson is in the lineup too, as is Robinson Cano. All that's missing, really, is first baseman Mark Teixeira, who is out for the year with injury. Recent acquisition Alfonso Soriano plays the part of new-guy-we're-pretty-familiar-with, which was the injured Kevin Youkilis' role earlier in the year.

In the case of A-Rod and Jeter, it'll be their first time playing together since the 2012 postseason, which was not a fun time for either gent. That's when Jeter broke the ankle that started him on the frequent-disabled-list program. A-Rod, meanwhile, was benched for his lackluster performance.

Will their luck be any different this time around? Well, it can't get much worse. Unless Jeter breaks another ankle and Bud Selig marches onto the field and drags A-Rod away by his ear.

The Yankees, for as injury-jinxed and drama-filled as they've been this season, are still legit wild card contenders. They're only three-and-a-half games behind the Oakland Athletics for a playoff spot.

Could having (most of) their nucleus back give the Yankees the push they need? Only time will tell, but a good start would be having Jeter in the lineup for a week straight.

Baseball season's in full swing. Don't miss a thing.
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