(Courtesy of the AP)
Saw the highlights of Derek Jeter's MLB Network interview over on LoHud this morning and his comments on his offseason workout status stood out the most to me, for obvious reasons:
“I feel good. It’s been a good offseason. Last year at this point, literally I’d just come out of the boot. I’ve been working hard since the beginning of November. … I don’t know if I learned anything (from last season), I just had more time. It’s my fault. Look, I rushed to get back. I wanted to be back. I set the goal for Opening Day. I don’t know how real that goal was, but set it, and it’s my fault. I really didn’t have enough time, or I didn’t take enough time. I wasn’t careful like I should have been.”
Couple of things here, one good and the other not so good.
One, the fact that Jeter has been able to follow a regular offseason workout program is great news. He's had a ton of time off from his final setback of 2013, he's getting to do the leg strengthening exercises he missed last offseason, and we should all feel a lot better about his ability to get on the field and start baseball activities on Monday without problems and maybe even be ready for Opening Day.
Two, not that it comes as a huge surprise to me that Jeter was ill-prepared to come back when he tried to last season - I did write about it figuratively a million times - but it strike me as odd that Jeter was allowed to call his own shots on said comeback attempt. At least that's how I'm reading that statement. He says it's his fault, acknowledges that he set the goal without knowing how realistic it was, and then admits that he didn't have enough time to rehab properly and prepare his body (ankle) for the season. All while the team training staff, doctors, coaches, and high-ranking front office personnel sat back and let that happen. Is that how this went down last year? Because if so, that's completely stupid and unacceptable.
I get that Jeter is "The Captain" and "a legend" and an all-time great Yankee and all of that. But nowhere on his list of accolades does it read that he attended medical school and graduated with a degree that gives him the right to make decisions on how to handle his rehab schedule from ankle surgery. If he wants to play the legend/all-time great Yankee card and stay at shortstop when he has no business being there anymore, fine. If he wants to argue that he should still hit 2nd in the batting order this year when he might not be the best candidate for the job anymore, fine. But Jeter should not be allowed to go rogue on an unrealistic comeback goal over the advice or recommendations of qualified medical personnel and unnecessarily subject himself to further injury risk and eventual setbacks.
I don't think they did a bang-up job as it is last year, but sooner or later somebody on the Yankee training staff needs to sack up and do their fucking job. Hopefully Jeter's progress this offseason is being more closely monitored and regimented than it was last offseason. Because if he gets out on the field in the first week of Spring Training and strains or tears something again, and we get word that he was "pushing it too hard" during these last 2 months, I'm going to be pissed.