The Blue Jays and Derek Jeter both arrived at Yankee Stadium on Thursday, the former to start a four-game series with the Yankees, the latter to visit teammates and to update his recovery from the broken ankle that’s keeping him sidelined indefinitely.
At a pregame media conference the Yankees shortstop was smiling and looked relaxed until asked toward the end of the session about the frustration that comes with rehabilitating an injury rather than playing.
“I don’t talk about injuries, I just don’t,” he said. “I feel that’s making an excuse for yourself. You’re either good enough to play or you’re not. ... Hopefully I won’t have to address this again, so when I start playing, please don’t ask me about it.”
When that will be, is unknown. Jeter broke the ankle on October 13, in the first game of the ALCS with the Detroit Tigers. He played five spring training games before being shut down due to discomfort and last Thursday, a scan showed a small crack in the same ankle. He’s expected to be out until the all-star break, at least.
“I’ve been stuck in the training room for weeks with physical therapy and rehab,” the Yankees captain said. “This is my first time out of there for quite some time. I’m happy to be out of there.”
Jeter’s ankle was stressed when he suffered the initial fracture. Asked whether his age, 38, is a factor in the recovery process, Jeter bristled slightly.
“I played on something I probably shouldn’t have played on and it broke,” he said, adding that it had nothing to do with “advanced age. It’d be different if my body was breaking down. It was a freak thing.”
His long-time teammate, Mariano Rivera, tore his ACL last May and wanted to come back in September. Instead, he was shut down for the season.
“For once, you have to think about yourself, think about what you have to do to get ready,” Rivera advised Jeter, as quoted in the New York Daily News. “Forget about what I can do for the team; you can’t do nothing for the team right now. What you can do for the team is make sure you’re 100 percent mentally and physically, then you’ll be ready to help the team.”
Rivera, 43, has recorded six saves in seven outings, holding opponents to six hits and two runs in seven innings. Jeter was asked if Rivera’s capacity to return to top form is inspiring him during rehab.
“No,” he said. “I have confidence this will heal. I didn’t need Mo to go through what he went through to have that mindset.”
Does he have any doubt about returning this season?
Does he have any doubt about being able to play to the same level?
Jeter, who has been undergoing rehab in Tampa, looks to be in great shape, despite wearing a protective boot with reluctance.
“I could fake my way past people but I can’t fake out a CT-scan,” he said. “Whenever it shows the the bone is healed, that’s the only hurdle left. ... If it was up to me I would [get a scan] every day to see how much I’m progressing but I don’t know how much it costs.”
He smiled at his own little joke at that point, having made the remark underneath the stands of the new Yankees Stadium that caused $1.5-billion to build.
Blue Jays injured shortstop Jose Reyes, out with an ankle injury of his own (severe sprain), joined the team for the game in the dugout. He's been rehabbing at his home in Long Island, N.Y.