All of the concern — real or manufactured — over where Derek Jeter's(notes) milestone 3,000th will happen now becomes concern over his short-term availability after the New York Yankees captain strained his right calf in their 1-0 loss to the Cleveland Indians Monday night.
Jeter had already collected hit No. 2,994 on a first-inning single off Carlos Carrasco(notes) when he stepped in to lead off the fifth. On the first pitch, he hit a routine fly ball to right field. As he took a couple steps out of the batter's box, something pulled causing an immediately noticeable hitch in his step.
Moments later, a clearly frustrated Jeter was shown tossing his helmet before heading down the tunnel to the Yankees clubhouse.
As manager Joe Girardi mentioned in his postgame press conference, the potential seriousness of the situation didn't take long to settle in after witnessing Jeter's body language.
"Obviously, we're worried about it," Manager Joe Girardi said. [...]
"[He] just walked off the field and you could tell he was done."
A late-night MRI revealed what is being classified as a Grade 1 strain of the calf. That's the least severe strain on a scale of 1 to 3, but given his age is still likely to keep him sidelined at least a few days, if not longer. Which means when Jeter's next major league at-bat will take place becomes a much bigger concern to the Yankees — and hopefully their fans — than when or where hit No. 3,000 is coming.
We might know more about Jeter's timetable when he's reevaluated at some point on Tuesday. In the meantime, the conspiracy theorists out there are already hard at work formulating their thesis that will prove the Yankees and Jeter are maneuvering to make sure the feat is accomplished at home. In fact, some of them didn't even wait for the MRI results. (Logic aside, these folks will not be denied of their opinions.)
As if this storyline needed another layer or a surprise twist, we certainly have one now. Be prepared for a full-fledged Calfgate.