Jeter returns to DL, season 'effectively' over
New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter has been placed on the disabled list again, which will "effectively end his season," general manager Brian Cashman said Wednesday.
General manager Brian Cashman announced that the Yankees had placed their 39-year-old shortstop and captain on the disabled list, meaning his season "is effectively over," Cashman said.
Cashman also ruled Jeter out for any postseason play in the event that the Yankees, who are two games back in the race for the second AL wild-card spot, wind up securing a playoff berth.
"I think it's important that we don't put him in position to have further damage," Cashman said. "So today I met with Derek and told him this is what we've decided to do. Obviously it's not an easy situation."
A year after playing in 159 games and leading all of baseball in plate appearances (740), at-bats (683) and hits (216), Jeter's 2013 season comes to an end after just 17 games, spread over three attempts to return from the disabled list due to complications arising out of the broken left ankle he suffered in Game 1 of the 2012 ALCS against the Detroit Tigers.
"It's very disappointing not to be able to play, especially this time of year," Jeter said. "This is when I want to play the most. Unfortunately, that's not the case. The entire year has been pretty much a nightmare for me physically, so I guess it's fitting that it ends like this."
Jeter missed the first 91 games of the season, then strained a quad July 11 in his first game back and returned to the DL. His next attempt lasted just four games, from July 28 to Aug. 2, when he once again ended up on the disabled list, this time due to a calf strain. He returned from that injury on Aug. 26 and played in 12 more games through Sept. 7, when he was removed from the game for a pinch runner after experiencing pain in his surgically repaired ankle.
Jeter, who hit .316 in 2012, ends the 2013 season having batted .190, with one home run and seven RBIs.
"It seemed like every time he came back, he was fine and then he would play a couple of days and something would happen," manager Joe Girardi said. "It seemed to be the repeated days that seemed to get to him a little bit. And that was frustrating to him and it was frustrating to all of us because we wanted him out there. And I think that's why we decided to shut him down."
Earlier in the day, a Yankees official had tipped off ESPNNewYork.com that bad news could be coming down about Jeter. "The fact that he's not dying to get back in the lineup tells you he must be hurting," the source said.
And late Tuesday night, the Yankees acquired shortstop Brendan Ryan from the Seattle Mariners, a further indication that the Yankees were no longer counting on Jeter over the final 17 games of the season.
At a news conference Wednesday afternoon at Camden Yards, Jeter -- who is notoriously reticent to admit injury and hates to be out of the lineup -- acknowledged that he was on board with the Yankees' decision to end his season in the midst of a pennant race.
"I wasn't moving the way I wanted to move, I wasn't hitting the way I wanted to hit. I wasn't doing anything; I wasn't throwing the way I wanted to throw," he said. "If you can't play how you're capable of playing or what you're used to doing, then you're really not helping out. If I'm not able to play how I want to play, then I'm not benefiting the team."
Jeter holds a player's option that will pay him $9.5 million for next season. He said he had not thought yet about next season, but the enforced idleness raises questions about how effective a player Jeter can be in 2014, especially at shortstop, perhaps the most demanding position on the field. Jeter will turn 40 next June.
When asked what he could realistically expect from Jeter next season, Cashman said, "I don't know. I've said to you that he'd be back this year. I'll say that again. He'll be back next year."
Cashman, Girardi and Jeter all agreed that with another offseason to heal and train properly -- he spent most of last winter in a protective boot and was unable to work out his legs -- Jeter will have a better chance of returning to spring training at full strength.
"I think as long as his ankle strengthens itself back up again with time, we'll see the player we're used to seeing," Cashman said. "If he's healthy, then he will be in a position to be that. As hard as this discussion topic that we're having today is about his season being over, I have not watched his last game. No one has."
Jeter said he would remain with the team through the remainder of the season.
"I'll be here to root the team on," Jeter said. "I've had pom poms on for a lot of this year already. You just try to help out as much as you can, in any way that you can. My teammates have always been there for me, so now it's my turn."
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