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Yankees put Derek Jeter on 15-day DL

New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter (2) watches

New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter (2) watches the game action from the dugout against the Texas Rangers at Yankee Stadium. (June 14, 2011) Credit: Christopher Pasatieri

Derek Jeter said he planned on "pleading" his case to stay off the disabled list.

He never stood a chance.

Jeter was placed on the 15-day DL before Tuesday night's's game against the Rangers, the result of a Grade 1 calf strain suffered Monday night.

His first stint on the DL since 2003 delays the pursuit of his 3,000th hit. Jeter, at 2,994 after a single Monday, is eligible to return June 29 against the Brewers, the second game of three at the Stadium. On July 1, the Yankees "travel" to Citi Field, raising the possibility of reaching the milestone there.

Jeter repeatedly had said he wanted to get No. 3,000 at the Stadium, and until injuring himself, he had an outside chance to do it in the three-game series against the Rangers.

"I guess the timing wasn't very good," Jeter said Tuesday before the decision to put him on the DL. "It's a little bit frustrating, but even if I wasn't at this point, I'd still be frustrated. I don't like not to play, whether it's going for 3,000 hits or 100 hits. It really doesn't make a difference. I'd rather be out there playing. I'm disappointed because I know a lot of people were looking forward to maybe getting to see it, especially this week. I feel bad for that. Hopefully, in time, that day will come.''

Infielder Ramiro Peña was brought up from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to replace Jeter on the roster. Eduardo Nuñez, who has speed on the bases, some pop in his bat but an erratic arm, started Tuesday night. Girardi said Nuñez, who turns 24 Wednesday, would get most of the starts in Jeter's place.

Girardi said Brett Gardner, who led off, isn't necessarily inheriting the leadoff spot full-time. "I have to make a decision against lefthanders what we're going to do," Girardi said.

The Yankees put off making the move until after a short meeting with Jeter, Girardi, general manager Brian Cashman and team physician Christopher Ahmad.

Cashman did not return a call. He said on WFAN Tuesday afternoon, "[Jeter] deserves a chance to be heard," though there never seemed to be a real chance the shortstop would be able to avoid the DL.

Especially with the Yankees starting a six-game interleague trip Friday in Chicago -- and the subsequent need for a deeper bench -- and the team's experience with Alex Rodriguez and a similar injury last year.

A-Rod missed three games last Aug. 17-19 with tightness in his left calf and, upon returning, injured the calf in his first at-bat. He was placed on the 15-day DL from Aug. 21-Sept. 5 with the same injury.

"I go back to that in my memory and that's my biggest concern," Girardi said.

Speaking of Jeter, Girardi said: "The risk is, to me, he tries to go after six or seven days and he reinjures it, and then you're looking at two or three weeks."

Jeter, whose default answer to just about every injury is "it's fine," acknowledged some discomfort.

"It almost felt like it was a charley horse in my calf," he said. "That's what I thought it was initially. I was trying to stretch it out and get rid of it, but it didn't happen. I haven't done anything to my calf before. It's been sore for a couple of days, but I just thought it was normal soreness. Evidently, something grabbed."

Jeter said he knew "something was wrong" as soon as he came out of the box on his fifth-inning flyout Monday.

"I didn't think it was too serious," he said. "Once I felt it, I didn't run very hard to first because I didn't want to take any chances. I really didn't know what it was. I was still hopeful it was only a cramp."

With Greg Logan

New York Sports