Mariano Rivera understands why Derek Jeter pushed himself

Derek Jeter listens to pitcher Mariano Rivera announce Derek Jeter listens to pitcher Mariano Rivera announce his plans to retire at the end of the 2013 season during a news conference at Steinbrenner Field. (March 9, 2013) Photo Credit: AP

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TORONTO -- Mariano Rivera didn't come right out and say Derek Jeter overextended himself in his rehab from a broken ankle. But the closer came close, not in a judgmental tone but using his own experience.

"Sometimes we push a little bit harder than what we need to push,'' he said Friday. "But that's our nature. We want to help the team as much as we can. But this time he has to be selfish.''

Rivera said that after suffering a torn ACL last May, he believed he could return before the end of the season.

"I wanted to be here in September,'' he said. "And if the doctor didn't shut me down, I would have hurt myself because I wasn't [physically] ready for that. But mentally I was set for that. It's hard. I can relate to that.''

General manager Brian Cashman said Jeter's latest setback will keep him out until after the All-Star break in July, a specifically vague timetable because the Yankees have no idea how or when he will heal. After all, Jeter received clearance just before spring training and was told that his broken ankle had completely healed. But he encountered a slow grind, and setbacks followed.

Jeter, who showed up at the team's minor-league complex in Tampa yesterday and told The Associated Press he is "disappointed'' with Thursday's news, will join the team when it returns from its road trip Thursday.

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Joe Girardi said whenever Jeter is back on the field, he expects the same high-level quality of play.

"I think for us to try and say he's never going to play again or he's not going to play at the same level when he gets back or he's not going to be the same guy,'' Girardi said, "everything about Derek is he's always been the same guy. That's the history he has, so that's what I think we're going to get. It's just when.''

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