When he turned and saw a swarm of reporters, Derek Jeter flashed a bemused smile. He couldn’t quite understand what the big deal was of him sitting out for the first time this season. It was just a cold.
“It’s really not a big deal,” Jeter said.
The captain has a head cold that he has been fighting for the last two or three days. He was removed late in Saturday’s game despite picking up three more hits, including a homer, to extend his season-opening hitting streak to 11 games.
Jeter was asked if he wanted to play today. He answered the question with one of his own: “Whadda you think?” His response was implied.
With tomorrow off, the Yankees fly to Oakland, where they’ll begin a nine-game road trip on Tuesday night. Jeter was asked if he’ll return to the lineup then.
“Yeah,” he said. “I could’ve played today, but you have two days, so that’s pretty much it.”
With that, the examination was over.
His replacement, Ramiro Pena, put the Yankees on top for good in the third inning. He lashed a two-run single to right with two outs. Pena said the ball was inside but that he had to swing because home plate ump Mike DiMuro had called inside pitches for strikes.
“I tried to get a good pitch,” Pena said. “I didn’t hit it that good exactly, but it was still a hit.
“It felt good. I got the opportunity to play and I just tried to do my job, that’s it.”