New York Yankees’ shortstop Derek Jeter has been cleared to participate in baseball activities. Just in time. The Yankees have looked anything but good lately. They’ve lost five of their last six and barely made it out of today’s game with a win. They’ve also fallen into third place in the division behind the Boston Red Sox and Baltimore Orioles, and the Tampa Bay Rays aren’t far behind.
The offense can’t seem to score consistently, and the pitching staff hasn’t performed much better. The team looks half asleep out there. Clearly, they need something or someone to wake them up. Enter Derek Jeter. The captain’s return could spark this team back into its winning ways. He will provide an immediate improvement on offense over fill-in shortstop Jayson Nix, and he will also provide a sense of leadership that this team is currently lacking.
Best of all, Jeter is a catalyst at the top of the order, giving the red-hot Brett Gardner some legitimate protection in the two hole. The spot has been filled by all sorts of players so far this year including Robinson Cano, Kevin Youkilis and Curtis Granderson, among others. Jeter makes the most sense because of his excellent contact ability and knack for hitting the ball to right field, setting up the hit and run. Some will argue that he’s lost a step at shortstop, and while I will admit that this may be true, Jeter is still an excellent fielder, perhaps still even better than Nix. The Yankee captain’s return could signal the return of winning baseball in the Bronx. For now, we’ll just have to wait and see.