TAMPA—In a reminder that Father Time might be the most formidable foe this year for the Yankees and their older roster, Derek Jeter will be out until Tuesday with a tender left calf, Joe Girardi said this morning.
The manager said he received a call on the bus yesterday, as the Yankees were making the long trip back across the state from Viera. Jeter, who remained back in Tampa along with most of the veterans, reported feeling something in his calf. Jeter, 37, had to go on the disabled list and required a rehab stint in Trenton with a right calf injury last season, when he was on the verge of getting his 3,000thhit.
“He said it was stiff, tender. I remember what happened last year, even though it was a different calf. So I’m just being cautious,” Girardi said this morning, hours before the exhibition game against the Nationals. “My alarm was he hurt his calf last year and I said we’re going to be smart about this. I think he could hit today and take BP, but just let it calm down.”
So Jeter was instructed not to go out on the field, even to practice.
Also, Russell Martin was scheduled to catch seven or eight innings today, but he reported today a sore left groin and he will not play. The manager is not sure when he will be able to return.
Nick Swisher, who had to leave the Wednesday game early with a tight groin, is better, Girardi said, but is not playing today, as a precaution.
“We’re getting a little nicked up right now,” Girardi said, mindful that the backup shortstop Eduardo Nunez is out with a bruised hand and will not swing a bat until tomorrow, and the one after that on the depth chart. Ramiro Pena, injured his ankle trying to steal second yesterday. “I’m running out of shortstops,” Girardi said, adding that he has been impressed so far with Doug Bernier, who will start today.
The backup shortstop (and third baseman) will be a pivotal position for the Yankees this year because Jeter and Alex Rodriguez will need more and more time off. Asked specifically today about Jeter’s schedule over the 162-game grind, the manager said that there was a plan in place to rest the captain regularly. That plan was firmly in place before the calf injury popped up.
That is part of having an established, experienced roster.
“It can be difficult at times, and then you can be real fortunate some days,” Girardi said. “You’re never sure why things happen. It could be fatigue, it could be field conditions. Sometimes things just happen. But you have to try to be smart about things.
“You never know when an injury is going to crop up and when it’s going to lead to an opportunity for somebody.”