Friday, July 12, 2013

Rushing Derek Jeter back to the Yankees after just four rehab starts...gee, what could go wrong?

Why do teams spend a slew of money on having spring training that lasts over a month? In Yankeeland, apparently all you need to be ready for the season is to play in four games, after not having any game time since October, and you are ready to go, even if it's July and you are coming off a major injury where you have already had one big setback. (Hat tip to Scott from my Facebook page for bringing up this excellent point!)

Hey, what could possibly go wrong in having the 39-year-old Derek Jeter come back, after 2 1/2 hours sleep the night before, and after getting a grand total of 9 at-bats in his rehab starts? A tightened quad, which he felt in his return, that's what. Shocker. Given that I was on a radio show 10 days ago talking about how he was finally getting to run the bases for the first time, this all seems way too soon.

As we wait to hear what the MRI results are, I want to chastise Brian Cashman and the rest of the Yankee "brain trust" for thinking it was a good idea to bring him back so soon. And please, spare me the whole "just having him around makes the team better." Am I supposed to believe that Andy Pettitte and CC Sabathia will pitch better simply because The Captain is back? That the Yankees will play better defense and hit better just because of his inspiration? The only things that could change is that the Yanks have a better lineup with Jeter hitting well, and other players may also get to see better pitches to hit, because Jeter is back in that lineup. But to expect any one person, even a future first-ballot Hall of Famer, to fix this fourth-place team is too much to ask.

Newsflash: Derek Jeter is 39 years old and coming off two ankle injuries. It was irresponsible to rush him back to the majors, even though because he said he wanted to come back. (And incidentally, isn't Cash supposed to tell Derek to STFU about that? Didn't he make a big stink about A-Rod on such an issue all of two weeks ago, with Cashman saying it was up to him when Rodriguez came back? Just saying.) Jeter always wants to play. That is part of what makes him a legend in this town. But that doesn't mean having him play was a good idea right now.

And as my Facebook friend Staci noted, how much of bringing Jeter back had to do with putting fannies in the seats, and increasing TV ratings? A lot, I will bet.

You would think the Yankees would have learned from rushing back Mark Teixeira and Kevin Youkilis after the team got swept by the Mets, and how it is better to think long-term than risk injury setbacks. So much for that.

Here's hoping Derek Jeter is A-OK. I don't want to see him hurt again.

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