A big part of beat writing is chasing injuries. It’s not a fun part of the job because most players don’t like talking about being hurt. But it has to be done.
Derek Jeter makes it easy. He just pretends he’s not hurt.
This scene yesterday from the clubhouse …
Jeter arrived at his locker. The writers gathered around, wanting to ask him about his right foot. Jeter had left the previous day’s game with a bruise on his instep after getting hit by a pitch. Jeter knew we had to ask him, but he sort of pretended we weren’t there as he talked to Jorge Posada.
“Watch this,” he said to Jorge.
With that, Jeter turned around and smiled. “I’m fine,” he said.
Then he demonstrated such by walking away. “Are you playing?” he was asked.
“Yep,” Jeter said over his shoulder.
The writers all laughed, as did Posada. But Jeter is smart. By not talking about injuries, he avoids the hassle and further hones his reputation as a durable team player. Some guys can’t wait to tell the writers about every little bruise because they want to be seen as willing to play hurt.
Jeter just plays.
Jeter has started 1,901 of the 2,056 games the Yankees have played since he became a regular in 1996. Only 16 other players have started games at shortstop for the Yankees in those 13 seasons. They are:
Enrique Wilson 31
Erick Almonte 29
Luis Sojo 25
Wilson Betemit 18
Miguel Cairo 14
Ramiro Pena, Cody Ransom 8
Alberto Gonzalez 7
Clay Bellinger, Andy Fox, Alfonso Soriano 5
Felix Escalona, Rey Sanchez 4
Wilson Delgado, Nick Green 3
Alex Arias 1
Thee Red Sox have used 32 shortstops since 1996. Nomar Garciaparra (951 starts) was once the regular before he was traded in 2004.
Boston’s shortstop roster since the start of the 2004 season:
Julio Lugo 245
Edgar Renteria 150
Alex Cora 112
Alex Gonzalez 110
Jed Lowrie 61
Nick Green 71
Orlando Cabrera 58
Pokey Reese 56
Nomar Garciaparra 37
Cesar Crespo 7
Ramon Vazquez 6
Dustin Pedroia 5
Ricky Gutierrez 3
Mark Bellhorn 2
Royce Clayton 1
It makes you appreciate — or at least it should — how durable Jeter has been and the value that brings.