Derek Jeter appears ready to return to the New York Yankees lineup again.
He played a simulated game on Saturday, and if he feels good when he arrives at Yankee Stadium on Sunday, manager Joe Girardi plans to start him at shortstop on Sunday against the Tampa Bay Rays.
The Yankee captain missed the first 91 games of the season with a fractured left ankle dating back to Game 1 of last year’s ALCS, before making his debut on July 11 against the Kansas City Royals. Jeter went 1-for-4 that day, but suffered a quadriceps strain running the bases and landed back on the disabled list.
If he does return, it would be a welcomed sight to a struggling and injury-riddled Yankees lineup. In his only game of the season, he played a huge role in a victory, scoring a run and beating out a double-play to drive in a run. His overall leadership ability should also give the team a huge boost.
The Yankees are 3-6 since the All-Star break, in fourth place in the AL East and are now eight games behind the Rays after losing back-to-back games to them on Friday and Saturday. In addition, designated Travis Hafner will be placed on the 15-day disabled list with a right rotator cuff strain, so Jeter will be needed to provide an offensive punch.
Whether if that is possible is a huge question to consider. He is 39, not 29, and has started to break down precipitously before our eyes. However, the Yankees are hoping that they have not rushed him back too soon this time around and that he can be half of the hitting machine he’s been his entire career. He certainly cannot do much worse than the makeshift Yankees lineup has done thus far, ranking 23rd in the majors in team batting average.
Jeter’s imminent return will be a welcomed sight for the Yankees. The team is 1-0 with him in the lineup. Hopefully for the Yankees, that ratio continues.