Heading back to Tampa, I’m reminded of this video taken a month and a half ago. This is Derek Jeter on the day after his ankle was declared 100 percent healed. At the time, there was nothing but optimism, and it’s striking just how casual Jeter seemed about the whole process. Not that he wasn’t taking the work seriously, but he clearly believed the worst was behind him.
“It’s always reassuring when someone says something that’s broke is not broke any more,” Jeter said. “Now it’s just getting through the normal aches and pains that come around it. As long as you know the break has healed, then the aches and pains, that goes away on its own.”
Of course, things have changed. Jeter’s return has been pushed back, and back, and back. Just a few days ago, it seemed this trip to Tampa would be — at the very least — a chance to see Jeter take some ground balls and batting practice at the minor league complex. Now there’s a new break and nothing to see except a Yankees lineup that most misses its captain against left-handed starters.
And the Yankees will face two pretty good left-handed starters — Matt Moore and David Price — in the first two games of this three-game series against the Rays.
“When you don’t have your Captain with you, with the team, you always miss that,” Mariano Rivera said. “At the same time, we can’t sit and wait for Derek or the others to come back. We still have to do a job that we need to do. We will be praying and hoping that his recovery will be soon, but there’s time involved. Time heals everything. We have to do what we need to do.”