For three days last week, Derek Jeter played shortstop and hit second in the order down in Triple-A. Tonight, he should finally do that exactly same thing in the big leagues.
The Yankees are planning to activated their captain for tonight’s series opener in Toronto. It will be the third time he’s come off the disabled list this season. Every other time, he’s injured himself within 24 hours. This time, the Yankees moved relatively slowly. He’s being activated more than a week after he was eligible to return, and he’s coming back only after playing two simulated games in Tampa and three straight games with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
There are five weeks left to play. That’s five weeks for Jeter to stay healthy enough to have an impact; five weeks for him to get the Yankees into the playoffs without sending himself back to the disabled list.
“I’ll talk to him,” Joe Girardi said. “I’ll talk to our people and see how he ran down there. We’ll see. You have to be smart. He’s still going to have to be smart.”
A few thoughts heading into Jeter’s return…
• The Yankees are going to play a lot of games with Jeter and Alex Rodriguez on the left side of the infield. Those are sure-handed veterans who will make routine plays but won’t cover much ground. Might be a lot of singles slipping through against those two. I’m sure they’ll both get some DH days, but even those might be rare with the Yankees wanting to keep their outfield bats in the lineup.
• Along those lines: It might be worth putting Jayson Nix on the 60-day and recalling Alberto Gonzalez in September. David Adams is an easy call as a September call-up, but Gonzalez would give the Yankees a legitimately strong defensive player for late-inning situations. Could replace Jeter one game, then Rodriguez the next, just so the Yankees can keep at least one rangy, reliable glove on that side of the infield.
• The Yankees beat up on Toronto just last week, but Girardi made this point: “I’m sure they’re aware of what we’ve done, and I’m sure they would like some revenge. You want to build momentum, especially when you’re going home for a while too. Those games are important as well.”
• That said, my goodness are the Blue Jays bad right now.
Associated Press photo