Blog Entry

3,000 on hold as Jeter heads to DL

Posted on: June 14, 2011 4:57 pm
Edited on: June 14, 2011 9:28 pm
NEW YORK -- Derek Jeter's run at 3,000 hits is on hold.

The Yankees captain is stalled at 2,994 hits after going on the disabled list for the first time in eight years, sidelined by a strained right calf that he suffered in Monday night's game against the Indians. Jeter tried to make a case for staying on the active roster, saying that he could be ready to play within a week, but the Yankees made a move shortly before Tuesday's game against the Rangers, calling up infielder Ramiro Pena to take Jeter's place.

Eduardo Nunez will be the Yankees' regular shortstop in Jeter's absence.

And the run at 3,000 hits will continue . . . eventually.

If Jeter returns from the DL on the first day he's eligible (and that certainly seems possible), his next game would be on June 29, at home against the Brewers. Jeter would then need six hits in two games to reach the milestone at Yankee Stadium. The Yankees then go back on the road for three games against the Mets at Citi Field and three against the Indians in Cleveland.

As big as the run at 3,000 seems, both Jeter and manager Joe Girardi said it didn't figure into the decision on whether to put him on the disabled list. In this case, it's easy to believe them.

Jeter never wants to leave the lineup, let alone go on the disabled list. He's been on the DL just five times in his career, and not at all since early in the 2003 season, when he dislocated his shoulder in a collision with Toronto's Ken Huckaby.

"I haven't made a living on the DL," Jeter said Tuesday.

Jeter left Monday's game after his fifth-inning at-bat, but he said that the calf actually started to bother him when he was running off the field at the end of the previous half-inning. At the time, Jeter thought he had just a charley horse.

Even Tuesday, Jeter described the calf as simply feeling as though he had been hit by a pitch. He even said he would have wanted to try to play Tuesday, except that doctors told him he could do more damage if he tried.

"It's not a problem to play with soreness," Jeter said.

But calf injuries can be tough. Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins strained his calf before last year's home opener, and he said during spring training this year that the injury didn't fully heal until the offseason. The Yankees remember how Alex Rodriguez's calf strain lingered last season.

"I go back to it in my memory," Girardi said.

Girardi and general manager Brian Cashman seemed to have determined early on Tuesday that the best course would be to put Jeter on the DL, but in deference to their captain they agreed to delay the decision until he could speak directly with the team doctor. Jeter acknowledged that he was "pleading my case."

The Yankees listened, longer than they would have with any other player. But in this case, a trip to the DL seemed the only logical option.

One complicating factor is a schedule that has the Yankees visiting the Cubs and Reds on a six-game trip that begins Friday at Wrigley Field. Those six games will be played without a designated hitter, making it much less attractive to play a man short.

Jeter insisted that wouldn't be a problem, but it clearly was. Still, the Yankees understood Jeter's position.

"He doesn't want to sit around for a week if he's ready," Girardi said. "You have to weigh what's best for Derek and what's best for the team."

Even as they delayed the decision on Jeter, the Yankees brought Pena to the Bronx on Tuesday. With Jeter unavailable, whether or not he went on the DL, the Yankees needed another infielder, so the plan was to send down a pitcher (the Yankees are carrying 13 pitchers) if Jeter won his argument and remained active.

The Yankees will need to make more roster moves during this series. Girardi said the Yankees expected to call up right-hander David Phelps in time for Thursday's game -- either to start Thursday in Bartolo Colon's place or to help out the bullpen while Hector Noesi is used as the starter. And after the Yankees signed right-hander Brian Gordon, who opted out of a minor-league contract with the Phillies, Gordon told the YES network's Jack Curry that he had been told to be mentally prepared to start Thursday.

Meanwhile, the Yankees don't plan to put Russell Martin on the DL, even though Martin was out of the lineup again Tuesday for the sixth time in seven days. The feeling is that Martin will be able to play in a few days and that he could be used as an emergency catcher.

But it's the Jeter decision that dominated another wild afternoon at Yankee Stadium -- because he's the one closing in on 3,000 hits, he's the one they need to make a decision on and, simply, because he's Derek Jeter.

Before the dislocated shoulder in 2003, Jeter's previous DL trips came in 1998 and 2000, both for strained abdominal muscles, and in 2001, because of a strained right quadriceps.

"I don't like not to play," Jeter said, "whether I'm going for 3,000 hits or 100 hits."

Players go on the DL all the time. Some fight to stay off the DL, some don't.

But how many of those players are in the final stages of a run at 3,000 hits? How many of those players are Derek Jeter?

Category: MLB

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3,000 on hold as Jeter heads to DL

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3,000 on hold as Jeter heads to DL

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