It appears likely that New York Yankees captain Derek Jeter will begin the season on the disabled list.
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Yankees general manager Brian Cashman told reporters Sunday that the revised goal is for Jeter to be ready April 6, according to the team’s Twitter feed. That would be the Yankees’ fifth game of the regular season, in Detroit against the Tigers (MLB on FOX, 4:05 p.m. ET). The Yankees open their schedule Monday, April 1, at home against the Boston Red Sox.
"April 1 is unrealistic in my mind now," Cashman said Sunday. "There’s nothing new going on other than growing pains as he gets through these final hurdles of his rehab."
Jeter, 38, hasn’t played in a Grapefruit League game since March 16 because of inflammation in his surgically repaired left ankle. Cashman told reporters Sunday that Jeter won’t play for the next two days.
The news is disheartening for the Yankees, particularly with Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira and Curtis Granderson already missing the opener with injuries. Jeter’s absence would underscore the fact that the Yankees are a team in transition: Jeter has been the Yankees’ Opening Day shortstop in 16 of the last 17 years, with 2001 the lone exception during that span.
Jeter suffered the broken ankle during Game 1 of last year’s American League Championship Series against Detroit. Eduardo Nunez, known for his bat more than his glove, would fill in at shortstop for the 13-time All-Star.
Jeter received an anti-inflammatory injection Wednesday and had four at-bats as a DH Saturday in a minor league exhibition game.
"I know Derek extremely well, and I can read his face," Cashman told the Associated Press. "And his face today tells me that the reality of his circumstances is starting to sink in, and the disabled list might be necessary. I told him what I think, and he didn’t fight me on it. That’s reality."
In five spring training games this season, Jeter is 3 for 11 with a double. The Yankees could put him on the DL backdated to Friday, meaning the shorstop could be activated on April 6.
"It’s a goal, it doesn’t mean an absolute," Cashman told the AP. "We’ll respond to how he’s feeling. That’s all we can do. At some point this will be behind him.
"We have to get him to be able to play shortstop. I don’t think it’s going to get him healthy DHing for us."
Jeter has not been on the DL for Opening Day since 2001, when he missed the first four games after straining his right quadriceps during a spring training game that March 16. Two years later, he dislocated his left shoulder in the opener during a collision at third base with Toronto catcher Ken Huckaby, who was covering the bag. Jeter was sidelined until May 13.
Seeking their 18th playoff berth in 19 years, the Yankees’ batting order figure to be missing almost half its regulars when the season starts.