Joe Girardi said this probably is the worst season Derek Jeter has ever gone through. It only got worse Sunday when Girardi announced that Jeter will miss at least two days as the Yankees wait to reevaluate his surgically repaired left ankle.
After lining an RBI single, Jeter was removed for a pinch runner in the sixth inning of Saturday's 13-9 loss to the Red Sox because Girardi was concerned about the way he was running. Jeter had a CT scan performed Saturday that came back negative, but the team is taking a cautious approach with the 39-year-old.
"It's just that his ankle is a little sore," Girardi said before the Yankees' 4-3 win over Boston Sunday. "There's concern, but it's something that he's had to deal with all year and we'll continue to manage it."
Jeter initially fractured his left ankle in Game 1 of the ALCS last October. He began the season on the disabled list and another fracture was discovered by a CT scan in April.
Jeter returned to the lineup on July 11 but played only one game before suffering a quadriceps injury that put him back on the DL. After four more games, he again was placed on the DL on Aug. 5 with a calf strain.
Jeter had been playing regularly since returning from the calf injury on Aug. 26 but recently has appeared hobbled running the bases and playing the field.
"Some other people questioned it earlier in the week," Girardi said. "I noticed it a lot [Saturday] when he ran to first the last at-bat; probably when it stuck out to me more than normal. That's why I decided to say, 'Let's pinch run for him and let's see where we're at.' Because he's not coming out -- if you ask him, he won't come out."
Before missing 126 games this season, Jeter had missed only 82 games during five DL trips in the first 18 years of his career. The injuries clearly have taken their toll, as Jeter is hitting only .190 in 17 games. Last season, he had a .316 batting average in 159 games.
"I know he's frustrated and he wants to be out there and it's tearing him up inside," Girardi said. "But I think as much as he doesn't like it and he wants to be out there, I think he understands our point of view about trying to give it a couple of days to calm down."
Only 19 games remain in the regular season, but Girardi is confident that Jeter will return.
"One of the things that has made him great for so long is his ability to fight through things and to find a way to get it done even when it looks like he might be too nicked up," Girardi said. "I think he understands that it's sore. He's the one who knows.
"He doesn't always tell us when things hurt, but I think he understands what we're trying to do here. He's probably going to want to be out there in a couple of days."