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Derek Jeter’s season is over, as Yankees put him on disabled list again — what about his career?

Mike Oz
Big League Stew

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(USA Today)

Well, Derek Jeter has almost as many disabled list trips this season as he does RBIs.

The Yankees put Jeter on the disabled list again Wednesday, the fourth time this year, and the final one — this will end his season. Jeter's been hobbled since breaking an ankle in last year's playoffs. First, there was the setback in spring training. Then the setback in mid-April.

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Jeter returned in July, then got hurt again in his first game back. He's dealt with a variety of leg-related issues since then — a quad, a calf and now the ankle again. He was pulled from Saturday's game after feeling soreness in his surgically repaired ankle, and he hasn't played since. This was the foreseeable end to a frustrating season for the Yankees Captain. Between all the DL trips, Jeter played in 17 games with 12 hits and a .190 batting average. He hit one homer and knocked in seven runs.

The Yankees acquired Brendan Ryan from the Mariners on Tuesday, as Jeter "insurance." But now he's more than that. Ryan can't be added to the postseason roster, however, should the Yankees make it. General manager Brian Cashman said Wednesday Jeter wouldn't return for the playoffs either. Right now, they're two games back in the AL Wild Card standings.

The larger question as it pertains to Jeter is whether this is the end of his season, or just the end. He'll be 40 next June, and while this isn't the way his Hall of Fame career should end, it might be his body making the decision for him.

Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News wrote in Tuesday's newspaper that when Jeter decides it's time to retire, he isn't likely to give us a farewell tour and a season's notice like Mariano Rivera. But Feinsand didn't think — before Wednesday's news, mind you — that Jeter was ready.

The only thing that could potentially cloud Jeter’s future is his contract, which expires this season but contains a $9.5 million player option.

Many inside the industry believe Jeter still has animosity toward the Yankees for the way the negotiations went down three years ago, so he’ll decline the option and force the Yankees to give him a new deal.

A friend of Jeter’s recently told me he thinks the Captain will exercise the option, returning with a sense of purpose next season. Public sentiment was largely with Jeter last time, but that probably wouldn’t be the case if he engaged the Yankees in a fight. Besides, what team is offering a 39-year-old shortstop more than $9.5 million anyway?

[Photos: MLB on-field tributes to 9/11]

General manager Brian Cashman told reporters on Wednesday: "I have not seen Derek Jeter play his last game. No one has." Jeter then addressed the media and said he didn't believe his career is over.

Despite what Jeter and Cashman say, this won't be the last time reporters are asking questions about Jeter's future between now and next season, you can bet on that.

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