Derek Jeter’s recovery from a broken left ankle was going as smoothly as could be expected so far this spring, until a hiccup on Tuesday. The New York Yankees shortstop and captain was removed from the team’s lineup on Tuesday for “precautionary reasons” because his surgically repaired ankle was “stiff.”
The 13-time All-Star was supposed to play his first road spring training game against the Philadelphia Phillies, but instead opted out. Jeter broke his ankle during Game 1 of the 2012 American League Championship Series against the Detroit Tigers and didn’t play his first spring training game until March 9. He is 3 for 11 at the plate so far.
Jeter said the following about baseball’s most talked about ankle:
“It’s just stiff, but it’s not in the part that I broke; it’s around it. I was told I’m going to feel it around the ankle because I was in a boot for so long. It takes time to strengthen. It’s normal just have to deal with it and move on.”
Jeter still claims he’ll be ready for Opening Day.
Last season the 38-year-old led the American League with 216 hits, while batting .316, with 15 home runs and 58 RBI. His .791 OPS and 2.1 WAR were his best since 2009. But at his age, with so many miles on his legs, it should be expected that Jeter’s ankle wouldn’t be fully healed yet. It’s going to take time, and frankly the injury will probably linger for a while, and maybe even for the rest of his career.
Ankle injuries are tricky in that they can often heal differently for each person based on a litany of factors that include age, general wear and tear on the ankle and even a person’s posture. But no one should expect Jeter to be 100 percent for a while.
With Jeter’s ankle bugging him, the Yankees are down yet another star. Third baseman Alex Rodriguez will likely be out until the All-Star break after hip surgery and center fielder Curtis Granderson broke his arm during his first exhibition at-bat this spring and will be out until May. Meanwhile, first baseman Mark Teixeira has a partially torn sheath in his right wrist and could miss up to two months of the regular season.
Things don’t look great for the guys in pinstripes right now.