Derek Jeter doesn’t need any more reminders of his increasing age and fragility. He got another one on Sunday anyway.
Jeter missed the Yankees’ 3-2 win over the Red Sox due to what manager Joe Girardi termed a tight right quadriceps, the large muscle in front of the thigh. It was the second straight game Jeter missed, though Saturday’s day off was of the scheduled variety.
With the Yankees off on Monday, Jeter will get at least one more day to rest. Girardi said the quad ailment isn’t serious and that Jeter should be back in the lineup when the Yankees resume play against the Cubs on Tuesday in the Bronx.
Still, any absence by Jeter serves as a reality check, for both he and the Yankees. Jeter’s aura of invincibility, shattered forever when he suffered a broken left ankle during the 2012 playoffs, disappeared last year, when he missed 135 games recovering from the ankle injury as well as right quad and right calf strains.
Jeter announced in February he would retire at the end of this season and expressed hope he’d play a full campaign. And while he did play in seven straight games prior to Saturday’s day off, Girardi acknowledged Sunday he may not be able to play Jeter for a week at a time anymore.
“I’m not saying that I won’t do that again,” Girardi said. “But I think at times I have to be aware of what’s going on.”
Girardi is fully aware of the delicate balance he must strike this season with his former teammate, who was the picture of stoic durability prior to his ankle injury. Girardi laughed Sunday when recalling how Jeter — who played in at least 148 games in 15 of his first 17 full big league seasons — would try to talk his way into the lineup under former manager Joe Torre by telling Torre he couldn’t break Cal Ripken Jr.’s consecutive games record from the bench.
“He always feels great,” Girardi said with a chuckle.
Now Girardi must know when he doesn’t, and act accordingly.
Third start for Tanaka
Right-handed pitcher Masahiro Tanaka will make his third big-league start Tuesday when the Yankees open a two-game series against the Cubs at Yankee Stadium. Tanaka received a no-decision in his most recent start last Wednesday, when he gave up three runs on seven hits and one walk while striking out 10 over seven innings in the Yankees’ 5-4 loss to the Orioles. Tanaka will be making his first start against a National League team.
DL likely for Cervelli
Catcher/first baseman Francisco Cervelli is expected to head to the disabled list after suffering a strained right hamstring in the fourth inning of the Yankees’ 3-2 win over the Red Sox on Sunday night. Cervelli was injured beating out a potential double-play ball. He was originally called out, but Joe Girardi used his replay challenge and the replay showed Cervelli beat the throw by a hair, which allowed Brian McCann to score what proved to be the winning run. Cervelli was making just his second career appearance at first base.