(Long Island, N.Y.) When Derek Jeter went down with a fractured ankle in Game 1 of the American League Championship Series, it almost seemed like it was destiny that the Yankees were not to move on to the Fall Classic. They lost that game to the Detroit Tigers and ultimately were swept at the hands of the ‘Junior Circuit’ pennant winners.
The team captain underwent surgery and was supposed to be ready to go this season, but things weren’t right even back in Spring Training. He was held out and was still feeling discomfort in the left ankle as the regular season opened. So the team doctors sent him for further tests to ascertain exactly what the situation was.
“They did a new CT scan, which revealed a small crack in the area of the previous injury,” Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said in a press conference. “We have to back off and let that heal. This is obviously a setback.”
That is putting it kindly, as the Bronx Bombers are already treading water trying to stay competitive with so many other key players out with injuries. First baseman Mark Teixeira and centerfielder Curtis Granderson are also missing from the line-up card, so getting the 38-year-old shortstop back on the field was being anticipated more than usual.
Currently in third place with a 10-8 mark, the Yankees are in good shape and may be able to stick around long enough until reinforcements are called in. They are a mere two-and-a-half games back of the Boston Red Sox in the American League East, but the season is still in its infancy.
The reports are stating that Jeter will be out of action until at least after the All-Star Break in July and Cashman seems content on standing pat and going with what he currently has on the roster in Jeter’s vacated position.
“We’re going to stay as we are,” he said. “Those guys (Eduardo Nunez and Jayson Nix) have done a nice job. I’m happy with Nixy and I’m happy with Nuney, but I would be happier with Derek.”
There is certainly a lot of pressure on both Nunez and Nix to not only hold down the fort, but become contributors, as well. The former has played parts of the previous three seasons with the Yankees and has struggled so far in 2013. His batting average is a paltry .167 and he has only three RBI and nine strikeouts.
Nix has had more experience but has had his own difficulties at the plate, currently also batting under the dreaded Mendoza Line at .194. Like his partner, Nix has also been stagnant with production (four RBI) and active in striking out (14).
So it remains to be seen how long Cashman can stand watching two players stink up the joint while keeping shortstop warm for their most beloved one. A safer bet would be within a month, there is a new body taking grounders there.