UPDATED 8:13 P.M.: The face of the Yankees just can’t catch a break, as Derek Jeter’s early return to the team Thursday was overshadowed by a tweaked quad he sustained during his last at-bat.
Jeter, 39, was back on the roster after missing the season’s first 91 games because of a broken ankle, scoring one run and driving in another. But during his final turn at the plate, his right quad “tightened up,” forcing the team to pull him early and order an MRI.
Still, the Bronx Bombers went on to beat the Kansas City Royals 8-4, and fans at Yankee Stadium were ecstatic to have the team’s captain back on the field.
“The team needs a spark,” said Daniel Brandon, 21. “They were missing their leader, and he’ll help provide them a strong second half.
“He had a solid base hit to start and seemed to be hustling around the bases, too, so it’s good,” Brandon added.
Nicky Benetatos, 44, agreed that Jeter’s return bodes well for the rest of the season.
“It’s great for the Yankees,” he said. “It might give them some more energy to come back in the second half, charge everybody’s batteries.”
Tanya Bondurant, managing editor of PinstripedBible.com, a blog devoted to the Yankees, said she thought Jeter’s return may have been slightly rushed, but his quad injury probably wasn’t a result of that.
“I think that Jeter being Jeter probably kind of forced that issue because he was so ready to be back,” she said. But “I don’t think [the injury] necessarily has anything to do with” that.
She added: “If he can come back and play most days … it’ll look more like the Yankees team that people are used to seeing rather than a lineup of people who are struggling.”
After the game, manager Joe Girardi said he wasn’t very worried about Jeter’s injury and that the MRI was solely a precaution, while Jeter said it felt great to be playing again.
“I’m hoping for the best,” Jeter said. “I felt fine. I felt good. I thought I was moving good. … Everything felt good up until that point. We’ll see.”
He added: “Let’s get an MRI, and if it’s all good, I’ll play.”