Multiple sources have reported today that Derek Jeter has received a cortisone shot in his left ankle and will be sidelined from spring training activities for a few days.
It’s also now seeming very possible that Jeter starts the regular season on the disabled list if his ankle, which he fractured in last season’s playoffs, isn’t ready to go on an every day basis by April 1.
The Yankees want Jeter, at the very least, to be able to play shortstop on back-to-back days. He’s likely to get a decent amount of at-bats as the team’s designated hitter against left-handed pitchers, with Eduardo Nunez playing the field in his place.
Even if Jeter is on the DL to start the season, it doesn’t sound like he’ll be out long, not like Curtis Granderson, Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez. The Yankees just want to make sure he’s totally good to go before they start running him out there every day, especially with most of their games in April being played outdoors in the northeast.
Still, it makes one wonder what the Yankees’ lineup might look like on opening day against Jon Lester and the Boston Red Sox without Jeter. Here’s one option:
RF – Ichiro Suzuki
SS – Eduardo Nunez
2B – Robinson Cano
3B – Kevin Youkilis
1B – Juan Rivera
LF – Ben Francisco
DH – Ronnier Mustelier/Jayson Nix -or whoever makes the club as a backup infielder
CF – Brett Gardner
C – Francisco Cervelli
*Brennan Boesch and Travis Hafner would likely be on the bench against a lefty such as Lester, but they’ll get plenty of playing time against righties.
It’s not exactly the lineup Yankees fans have seen over the past 20 years. Not packed with superstars. Not littered with up-and-coming promising young players, either.
That’s not to say that the Yankees won’t – or can’t – be competitive in 2013. As much as they’ll need this group of players to hit and score runs until Granderson, Teixeira and Rodriguez return, they’ll also need the pitching staff, which general manager Brian Cashman recently called “the strength of the team,” to stay healthy. That’s a big if. CC Sabathia uncharacteristically hit the DL a few times last year. Andy Pettitte hasn’t made 30-plus starts since 2009. Hiroki Kuroda, at age 38, is coming off a season in which he pitched the most innings of his career. It’s almost impossible to see that group combining for 90 starts this season.
It will certainly be interesting to see what happens with the Yankees this year. What will the reaction be on opening day if someone other than Jeter runs out to shortstop during pregame introductions?