The latest Derek Jeter setback started on Monday morning, during an off day in Los Angeles.
“He played on Sunday, and Sunday he did not feel anything,” Joe Girardi said. “It was when he woke up on Monday that he talked about he felt a little something there (in his calf). Today he said it’s the best it’s felt in the few days. He thought it was better, but if it is going in the right direction, I want to keep him going in the right direction and get him back 100 percent.”
Jeter will not play today or tomorrow. Girardi said Jeter could be available to pinch hit — and if there were a DH in today’s game, that might have been an option — but that right leg continues to be a problem. It was the left ankle that was broken last year, but it’s been the right quadriceps and right calf that have caused issues since his return.
“Just the leg, the right leg; it’s a concern of ours and we’ve got to try to get him healthy,” Girardi said. “… I think it’s just moving for the most part. I don’t think it bothers him swinging, but I think it’s the movements.”
Jeter made one awkward play in the field last night, but he said last night — and Girardi said today — that the specific play didn’t cause anything. Same of last night’s slide, which was also awkward. Jeter thinks the situation is getting better, and the Yankees want to make sure, but there’s not a lot of time left.
“We’ve only got so many games,” Girardi said. “If there were 150 games, he probably wouldn’t have played Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. But because of what we have (he’s tried to play). … We’ll try to continue to get him on the field every day. That’s our goal.”
• Also some concern for David Phelps, who was supposed to make a Double-A rehab start tomorrow but was scratched after complaining about some soreness in his right elbow/forearm. “He’s not 100 percent as well,” Girardi said. “So we decided to scratch him. I talked to him today to make sure that he was feeling OK and he said he didn’t quite feel 100 percent. I said, ‘Look, this isn’t something we want to mess with, so let’s take a step back, get you evaluated and see where you’re at.’”
• Girardi said Phelps is likely heading for more tests. He’s been on the DL with a mild forearm strain. The latest discomfort must be fairly new. Adam Warren, who’s a close friend of Phelps, said last he talked to Phelps everything was good. Warren had no idea there was anything wrong. Doesn’t sound like something that’s been an issue through previous rehab starts.
• Alex Rodriguez is back at third base for Trenton tonight. He’s hoping to join the Yankees on Monday in Chicago. Just in case you’re thinking the Yankees might somehow activate him tomorrow, Girardi explained why that won’t happen. “I don’t think we can get a fighter jet to get him here in an hour or two,” Girardi said. “I don’t think that’s going to happen.”
• If you haven’t seen it already, it seems last night’s latest comments about conspiracy have ended any hope of Rodriguez reaching a plea deal with Major League Baseball. The Daily News investigative team reported this afternoon that MLB shot down a last-minute attempt by Union chief Michael Weiner to negotiate on Rodriguez’s behalf. The Yankees apparently also rebuffed communication with the Rodriguez camp. Everyone has pretty much dug in at this point. Sides and opinions are pretty clearly set.
• Eduardo Nunez is back at shortstop with Jeter hurt, but Girardi said he was pleased with how Nunez handled third base last night. “He did OK, he made the plays he had to make,” Girardi said. “But he’ll be back at short today. He did OK. You could play there for two weeks and on the 15th day you might see a play you hadn’t seen in the first two weeks. I was happy.”
• The Yankees are counting on another good start from Ivan Nova tonight. He’s facing the team that took him in the 2008 Rule 5 draft, only to return him before the end of spring training. “It’s been his fastball for me,” Girardi said. “How he’s been able to keep it down in the zone better. When it’s down in the zone, it’s an outstanding pitch. It’s a weapon for him, is what it is. The key is for him to stay down. When he stays down, he’s going to get a lot of ground ball outs, he’s going to get swings and misses. It makes his curveball that much better, his changeup better. That’s been the big thing for me.”
Associated Press photos