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Yankees to start season without Derek Jeter at helm

Derek Jeter #2 of the New York Yankees

Derek Jeter #2 of the New York Yankees Credit: Derek Jeter #2 of the New York Yankees (Getty Images)

Yankee fans, your nightmare is getting worse: Derek Jeter is almost certainly going to miss Opening Day … and then some.

With one star going down after another, the team and the captain himself are coming to grips with the fact that Jeter is going to need more time to heal the left ankle he had surgery on in the offseason.

Jeter has been known to fight tooth and nail to avoid stints on the disabled list, but yesterday he said he’s resigned to the fact that’s where he’s likely to start the season.

“Pretty much,” Jeter said, “looks like that’s what’s going to happen.”

Yankee fans on Twitter didn’t take the news well:

“Whaaaack!!! What more burdens do we have to endure!” posted @pmerchan.

“prob the most disappointing thing ive heard in a while,” tweeted @@mike_lepore.

Since undergoing surgery on his broken left ankle last Oct. 20, the Yankees shortstop consistently maintained he would be ready by the season opener on April 1 against the Red Sox at Yankee Stadium.

“Of course it’s disappointing,” Jeter said. “I told you guys all along my goal is to be ready by Opening Day and I didn’t reach it. So, yeah, it’s disappointing.”

The injury-ravaged Yankees are also without stars Mark Teixeira, Curtis Granderson and the perennially hurt Alex Rodriguez.

Jeter’s rehab mostly had been sailing along since last October, until the first signs of trouble cropped up March 19, when the 38-year-old shortstop felt “stiffness” in the ankle. He has not played in a spring game since then, with his baseball activity workload significantly decreased over that time.

General Manager Brian Cashman said Sunday that Jeter was likely to start the season on the DL.

Jeter has been hesitant to use the word “setback” in describing his situation. He said doctors all along have told him a certain amount of soreness in the surgically repaired ankle was to be expected.

“I told you guys before, it’s what is supposed to happen,” Jeter said. “Heard from the doc yesterday \[Monday\], it’s supposed to happen. Some things you can’t control. Everyone talks about setback. ... I mean it’s a setback for Opening Day being ready, but it’s not a setback in terms of the recovery process because that’s what’s supposed to happen.”

Jeter did not discount the possibility that he pushed the ankle too hard in trying to be ready for the opener.

“I don’t know,” he said, but quickly added, “I would have done the exact same thing,” again, mentioning soreness was part of the recovery process.

“It’s just that I ran out of days in terms of Opening Day,” Jeter said.

Jeter said his expectation is he’ll be ready when he’s eligible to come off the DL April 6, but repeated a caveat from late last week: “I’m going to stop putting dates on it.”

As for being in New York for the pomp and circumstance of the season opener, Jeter said he’s just focused on getting ready to play.

“Whatever gets me ready to play the soonest,” he said.  

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