This will shock you, I’m sure, but Derek Jeter says he doesn’t know when he bruised his left ankle, doesn’t know where he bruised his left ankle, and he doesn’t think his bruised ankle is a big deal.
“It’s really not as bad (as it looked),” he said. “You play or you don’t play, that’s the bottom line. I’ll be playing tomorrow.”
Jeter has been dealing with a bone bruise in his left ankle since at least the Rays series in Tampa Bay. That’s when Joe Girardi first became aware of it, and he was fully aware that Jeter was playing through it tonight. When he saw Jeter come up limping after that double play in the eighth inning, Girardi assumed it was nothing more serious than an aggravation of the same injury. Girardi and Steve Donohue came out to check on Jeter.
“I wanted to stay in the game,” Jeter said. “They thought I should put ice on it.”
Reality is, this was not a good day for the Yankees until Jeter said it was a good day. If Jeter had been seriously hurt, today’s win would have been secondary. But with Jeter expecting to play tomorrow, it’s a good day with a few close calls.
“It doesn’t temper the win, because we need to win,” Girardi said. “If he was out for a while, I’d be pretty concerned. Knowing Derek as well as we all do, he’s probably going to be in there tomorrow.”
• The Yankees and Orioles remain tied in the American League East. The Orioles walked off against the Rays just a few minutes before Rafael Soriano finally closed out the win here in Boston. “You’ve got to focus on your own game,” Jeter said. “I sound like a broken record, but the bottom line is if we win our games then we’ll be fine. That’s what we have to focus on. We can’t really sit around and worry about what’s going wherever (the Orioles) are. Where are they, Baltimore? We have no control over it. We can control how we play.”
• Alex Rodriguez is fine after his collision with James Loney at first base. “It looked more funny than anything else,” Rodriguez said. “I’m glad we’re both OK.”
• Rodriguez moved past Frankie Frisch for sole possession of 38th place on baseball’s all-time hits list. He also tied Phil Rizzuto for 18th place on the Yankees all-time runs scored list with his 878th as a Yankee.
• Robinson Cano hurt his wrist a little bit making a diving play tonight, but he said it’s a non-issue. He’ll play tomorrow.
• Cano reached 30 homers in a season for the first time in his career. His RBI total is down, but otherwise Cano’s having another terrific season. He won’t be an MVP favorite, but he’ll be in the mix somewhere.
• Big night for Curtis Granderson who seems to be swinging the bat a little better lately. “Anytime you can help the team win it’s always a good thing,” Granderson said. “We definitely wanted to get an opportunity to even out this series today, and we were able to do that. Now we’ve got a chance to win this series tomorrow, which is the main goal coming in to the start of the series yesterday — it’s just to win series the rest of the way, and that’s all we can control the rest of the way.”
• Eric Chavez went 2-for-2 with two doubles, including the 300th of his career. It’s the second time this season that Chavez has doubled twice in the same game. And if you’re wondering why he was pulled for a pinch hitter, Chavez is hitting just .161/.222/.161 against lefties this season.
• How about David Phelps? “He was aggressive,” Girardi said. “I think he got back to who he was, using his fastball-curveball mostly. He was really good with both of them. … This kid can pitch. We’ve loved the job that he’s done. Today, that was a big start for us.”
• When Phelps struck out Igelias to strand that leadoff triple in the fifth inning, he gave a kind of whirling fist pump on the mound. I was reminded of spring training when he found out he made the team and didn’t so much as smile when he walked back into the clubhouse. Phelps has a calm demeanor, and it takes a lot for him to show that sort of emotion. “It was huge,” he said. “I’d just given a run in the fourth, and to come back and we were up 3-1 at the time. He hits the leadoff triple and I told myself, alright, I’m going to do everything I can to not let this run score. It was a big run in the game.”
• With Andy Pettitte close to returning, I guess the final spot in the rotation is a decision between Phelps and Ivan Nova. After a couple of shakey starts, Phelps showed a lot tonight. “Every win during the season is significant,” he said. “Just go out there and prove to myself that I can pitch in September.”
• The big difference for Phelps was getting ahead and working in the zone. “The last two starts prior to this one I was behind in a lot of counts and I wasn’t pounding the strike zone early,” he said. “I told myself I wanted to come out and if they were going to swing first pitch, I was going to make them hit it. I just went out there and tried to get ahead in the count. I can attack a lot more when it’s 0-1 vs. 1-0.”
• The Yankees improved to 9-5 against the Red Sox this season.
• Jeter scored the 1,860th run of his career, passing Mel Ott for sole possession of 12th place on baseball’s all-time runs scored list. He has an eight-game hitting streak.
• Final word goes to Cano: “(Jeter) plays with pain and you can see him limping and being able to go out there every day and just competing, you know he wants to win. … That’s one of the big guys in the lineup. I mean, that’s the hottest guy on the team. That’s the last guy you want to see going down, but hopefully he’ll be in the lineup tomorrow.”
Associated Press photos