Joe Girardi said the decision is all his own. The Yankees front office has offered no preference about playing time for Derek Jeter. They’ve given no orders about making sure Jeter reaches 3,000 hits at Yankee Stadium.
“No one has ever said a word to me about where he needs to do it,” Girardi said.
That means it’s up to Girardi to decide whether Jeter plays tonight. With four hits to go, the milestone is legitimately within reach.
There’s no question Jeter wants to play, and there’s no doubt he’ll tell the Yankees that he’s healthy enough to play, but Girardi is usually cautious when it comes to his players’ health. He’s decided that he doesn’t want Jeter to play nine days in a row, and that means giving Jeter a day off.
It could come tonight in Cleveland, or it could come one of the next four days in the Bronx.
“He’s played four days in a row,” Girardi said. “We have (tonight) and then another four. I’ll sleep on it and talk to him. What do you think he’s going to say?”
Jeter said it all last night.
“I won’t say I’ll talk myself in, because as of now, I’m not out,” he said. “I feel fine to play tomorrow… I’d like to play tomorrow. It’s hard to sit anyway. I’ve sat for three weeks. It would be hard to sit if I had no hits (Tuesday) and was six away. I want to play.”
If Girardi knows what Jeter’s going to say, then why have the conversation?
“I think it’s fair and I think he’s earned that,” Girardi said.
Here’s Girardi’s postgame interview last night. Does this sound like a man who’s planning to play his shortstop tonight?
Speaking of Jeter, he seemed to be in kind of an oddly honest mood last night.
About being able to enjoy the spotlight of the 3,000 hits chase
“I really haven’t been talking about this too much. There have been other things that have been in the media, so it’s kind of hard to enjoy it when there’s a lot of negativity that’s out there. Hopefully, I’d like to be able to enjoy it these next few days.”
About the recent negativity taking away from the moment
“You’d like to enjoy it. It has been difficult when I’m constantly asked the questions that are a little bit different. To be honest, I’m going to try to enjoy it from now on and try to keep things as positive as I can.”
About having a camera crew follow him for the HBO documentary
“I’m not comfortable with it at all. I don’t know how people film reality shows, to be honest with you… It was originally an idea to tape my family and friends at the game if and when it ever happened. It turned into a little bit more.”