Derek Jeter's comeback from the ankle injury he suffered last October stalled Thursday when general manager Brian Cashman announced the 38-year-old shortstop has a new fracture related to the original injury. A CT scan revealed a "small fracture'' that moved the timetable for Jeter's return to "sometime after the All-Star break,'' according to Cashman.
After experiencing lingering pain in the area of the injury recently, Jeter traveled to Charlotte, N.C., where he underwent a CT scan under the supervision of Dr. Robert Anderson, the operating physician who is managing his recovery. Jeter had been cleared for baseball activity after two previous CT scans showed 100 percent healing, but the third one revealed a new injury.
"This is obviously a setback,'' Cashman said. "In terms of speculating on when we might see Derek back with us, we'd be looking at some time after the All-Star break.''
Cashman said the new injury does not require further surgery. "I talked to Dr. Anderson, and he told me 95 percent of the people that have this come back from it fine,'' he said.
"This is a new fracture. But a small one. That's the only good part. They kept saying the word 'small.' But it's a setback, so it's not a good situation.''
There was no specific incident that caused the injury during Jeter's rehabilitation at the Yankees' training facility in Tampa. The issue was lingering pain and swelling after Jeter was cleared to resume baseball activity.
Cashman said that because the results of the first two CT scans gave him a clean bill of health, there's no reason to believe Jeter did too much too soon. But the weakened condition of Jeter's left ankle, which he broke in Game 1 of the ALCS against Detroit, might be a factor in the new injury.
"I think it's definitely related,'' Cashman said. "But I'm not a doctor. It's a new fracture of the [same] area.''
Asked if he considers it career-threatening, Cashman said, "All I can tell you is 95 percent of the people come back from this is what he [Anderson] told me. So I expect to see him sometime after the All-Star break.''
Dr. James Gladstone, the co-chief of sports medicine at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York, told Newsday that fears of a career-threatening injury are unwarranted. Gladstone cautioned that he hasn't seen the results of the CT scan but added, "From a career-threatening point of view, I would doubt it. I don't think this injury is more threatening than the first time around.
"After three to four months, typically the bone is well-healed. But sometimes it takes longer. Something new developed. I would be hopeful .''
Jeter is scheduled to visit Anderson in Charlotte again next week when the Yankees visit the Rays. But Cashman said he expects Jeter to be in New York to speak to the media when the Yankees return home later next week for 10 games.
Asked how the captain is handling the latest setback, Cashman said, "Like a pro. He was like, 'I'll see you in four to six weeks.' He'll never let anybody see any area of weakness or problem. His attitude is: 'You're going to see me sooner than later.' ''
Cashman said he has no plans to make any personnel moves because he's happy with the play of reserve infielders Eduardo Nuñez and Jayson Nix. Nuñez made his 10th start of the season at shortstop last night and said he's prepared to play the whole season if necessary.
"I hope he's coming back this year,'' Nuñez said. "I hope he comes back well, healthy. But yeah, I prepare myself to play every day all year long.''