The New York Yankees are not allowed any good news in 2013. Derek Jeter said he injured his right quadriceps and needs an MRI after running to first base in his first game back since he broke his left ankle in October.
The Bronx icon appeared to have made a successful return to Major League Baseball on Thursday afternoon, going 1 for 4 with a run scored and an RBI. The Yankees would have been happy enough just to get Jeter back at all from a gruesome and disheartening injury, but his return also came in an 8-4 victory against the Kansas City Royals. The Yankees improved to 50-42.
But Jeter said he injured his right leg running to first base on a sharp grounder to second base:
Jeter injured quad running to 1st in the third at bat. Said he has to wait on the MRI and he is "hoping for the best."
— Jack Curry (@JackCurryYES) July 11, 2013
The Yankees had admitted to rushing Jeter back from an injury rehab assignment because they needed fresh bodies who could start. They probably already regret going the way they did, though manager Joe Girardi says he expects Jeter to play Friday. Strange, considering the MRI results weren't back yet.
Batting second as the designated hitter, Jeter made contact four times, and though none of the balls left the infield, he did leg out an infield single in his first at-bat.
YES broadcaster Michael Kay noted that the Yankee Stadium public address system didn't play the recorded introduction that legendary ballpark voice Bob Sheppard made for Jeter before he died. Instead, it was some tune by Eminem. Other than not hearing from Sheppard, it was vintage-ish Captain in Jeter's first plate appearance.
Taking advantage of Miguel Tejada playing deep at third base, Jeter took a full swing and beat out an infield single against Royals right-hander Ervin Santana. After being put in motion on a 3-2 pitch later in the inning that allowed him to reach third base, Jeter scored a run on a sacrifice fly. He seemed to run just fine, especially for a 39-year-old who had cracked his ankle twice — once during the October playoffs, and again during spring training.
The Captain was back on the bridge!
In Jeter's second at-bat, in the second inning, he grounded to third. In his next trip — when Jeter said he became injured — he got crafty by trying to shoot a single to right field, but Johnny Giavotella made up ground and made a diving play to get Jeter at first base.
Coming up with the bases loaded in the sixth, he hit the ball on the screws, but right at shortstop Alcides Escobar, who bobbled the ball but threw out Jeter at first.
Brett Gardner pinch hit for Jeter in the eighth inning, with Jeter apparently unable to continue. Before the game, Joe Girardi said Jeter probably would play shortstop on Friday — if he were healthy enough.
What does Jeter's return mean to the Yankees, beyond having their probable Hall of Fame shortstop back in the lineup? Former skipper Joe Torre says:
"Derek has always been a security blanket because of his leadership skills which extend beyond his ability."
The Yankees activated Jeter after he played four games for Class AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, going 1 for 9 with four walks. Girardi said he originally wanted Jeter to play through the weekend on his rehab assignment, but that injuries to other Yankees players necessitated Jeter's hastened return. Captain, your Yankees needed you.
But they might have been asking too much.
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