Derek Jeter, who has been the focal point of baseball recently as he chases his 3,000th hit, will not be at the All-Star Game in Phoenix on Tuesday.
Jeter informed reporters at Yankee Stadium on Friday that he has decided to skip the game to avoid putting any extra strain on his recently healed right calf. The 12-time All-Star revealed his decision two hours before the Yankees' game against Tampa Bay was postponed because of rain.
"I want to be ready for the second half of the season. That has to be my focus," Jeter said. "It's unfortunate because you know how much I like to play in All-Star Games. I'm trying to be smart about it. I know I can be stubborn a lot of times with injuries."
Jeter isn't the only Yankee to pull out of the game. Alex Rodriguez, who had an MRI on his sore right knee Friday, informed Major League Baseball on Friday night that he also will miss the game. That makes three Yankees who won't be playing for the American League, as Mariano Rivera (triceps) already had announced he will not participate.
Jeter was on the disabled list for 20 days with the calf injury before returning to the lineup Monday. The calf has been fine since his return, but his concern now is keeping it that way.
"I left the decision up to him," Girardi said, "and he just said, you know we've had a calf injury, we're playing every day and I feel it's probably in my best interests to give it a couple days and make sure it's OK."
Jeter, who has admitted that the 3,000 chase is beginning to wear on him, likely could use a mental break, as well. In his four games with the Yankees since coming off the disabled list, he is 4-for-18.
Jeter, attempting to become the first player to get his 3,000th hit in a Yankees uniform and hoping to accomplish the feat at Yankee Stadium, has two home games remaining to get the two hits he needs. After games against the Rays at the Stadium on Saturday and Sunday, the Yankees will go on the road for eight games against Toronto and Tampa Bay after the All-Star break.
If Jeter does get two hits in the next two days, the All-Star Game could have been turned into his own mini-coronation. Now he will have a few days to either celebrate on his own or step away from the spotlight for a few days before resuming the chase in Toronto.