Derek Jeter wasn’t giving an inch at his press conference this afternoon. He believes he’ll return this season after his second ankle fracture, and be the player he used to be, and move the way he was moving when he was healthy last season.
His message to you: “To the fans, I’ll be back soon.”
Jeter was in good spirits at the press conference, but he had also received his get-out-of-Tampa card. He said he will be with the team for at least this homestand.
“I’ve been stuck in a training room pretty much for the last, when did the team leave (spring training)? I don’t even know how many weeks I’ve been going to the training room and doing physical therapy and rehab,” Jeter said. “This is the first time I’ve been out of there for quite some time. So I’m happy to be out of there. But, yeah, of course, I keep saying ‘frustrating.’ That’s probably the biggest thing.
“When I got it, it wasn’t good news. I thought I would go up there, when I went to see the doc (last week), I thought he would say it was something different. Tape it up. Let’s go. But it wasn’t the case. It didn’t feel too good for quite some time. I’m laughing and smiling and happy that I’m up here. But I’m still upset that I can’t play.”
The original fracture in the playoffs and the subsequent second fracture — he doesn’t know when he did it after reporting to Tampa — hasn’t made him ponder his baseball mortality.
“Me breaking my ankle wasn’t just because I was getting older,” Jeter said. “I played on something that I probably shouldn’t have played on and it ended up breaking. It wasn’t because of my ‘advanced’ age that my ankle broke. It would be a little different if my body started breaking down. Then you might think about, ‘I don’t know how much longer I can do this.’ But this was just a freak thing that happened. I have to deal with it. If I was 22 years old, I’m pretty sure it would’ve taken some time for it to heal then.”
Jeter wasn’t in a walking boot at the media gathering, but he said he has otherwise been wearing the boot even though he doesn’t think he needs to wear it. He just has to wait for the healing to take its course.
“Right now, there’s really not much I can do,” Jeter said. “I’ll just sort of play it by ear.”
When will he be back? “I have a date in my mind when I’m going to be back,” Jeter said. It’s up to us to guess. He wasn’t saying.
Also, Kevin Youkilis isn’t in the lineup for the fifth straight game because of lower back tightness.
“He tried to take some work in the cage,” Joe Girardi said. “He’s just not ready. I thought it would be today. So hopefully it’s tomorrow. We’ll just go day by day.”