Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Jeter's Ankle Acting Up Already

The good news is that the X-rays came back negative and the MRI showed only mild inflammation, so there's nothing structurally wrong with Derek Jeter's surgically-repaired ankle.  The bad news is that it didn't take long at all for the ankle to start bothering him once he returned to game action.  After just five games, only a couple of them at shortstop, Jeter felt stiffness in the ankle during BP yesterday and was scratched from the lineup.  Joe initially described the ankle as "cranky," but there was enough concern for the Yankees to send Jeter to the doctor to have the ankle evaluated and based on that evaluation they are officially calling him day-to-day.

With over a week before the start of the regular season, the most important thing right now is making sure Jeter is alright and the priority should be giving him the time he needs to relieve the inflammation.  Looking big picture, though, this could set a tough precedent for how Jeter has to be handled this season and how Joe will have to juggle the lineup to ensure he gives Jeter enough time to rest.  Five games with a day of rest in between each wasn't enough to keep the ankle from acting up and there aren't any regular season stretches with that much rest time built in.

The more Jeter has to be held out of the lineup to rest the ankle, the more Eduardo Nunez has to play shortstop and that's just not a good thing.  The Yanks are also light on right-handed DH options right now and I'm sure Joe was planning to use that spot as a way to get Jeter some quasi-off days.  Having to be held out because of ankle issues this early in the year not only brings Jeter's already uncertain production capability into further question, it also raises greater concerns about his ability to even stay on the field once the regular season starts.

** UPDATE 12:06 PM- Cash confirmed earlier that Jeter received a cortisone shot in the ankle today and said it's possible Jeter could start the season on the DL.  Not surprising, but definitely disappointing.  Let Nunez Watch 2013 begin. **

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