The ALCS seems like it happened so long ago, that I’d almost forgotten that Derek Jeter suffered a broken ankle in the first game of the series in all honesty, but Joe Girardi‘s comments on that brought it back into stark relief. The skipper’s message? His starting shortstop might not be ready to play on Opening Day. “He’s still basically non-weight-bearing, I believe, so, I really believe it might be a little push,” Girardi said.
Initial freak out aside, Girardi is a pretty conservative manager when it comes to his public statements, and it seems as though he’s just being as non-committal as he can without ducking the question entirely. That’s not without merit, either, as there’s pretty good reason not to be tossing numbers around yet, as how Jeter’s rehab work progresses will be the biggest factor in determining when he’s ready to return. As we saw with Andy Pettitte over the summer, putting too much effort into trying to heal quickly can easily lead to setbacks that leave you missing even more time, so putting the pressure on Jeter to be ready for Opening Day is likely counterproductive. Besides, the most important thing is probably making sure that he’s truly fully healed, and that he doesn’t begin the season by trying to play through an injury that could both limit his performance and cause him to miss more time later in the season.