Hours after listing Derek Jeter as his designated hitter for Tuesday’s game against the Red Sox, Yankees manager Joe Girardi said he won’t deviate from the plan in order to help his superstar reach 3,000 hits as home.
But… that’s like… right after he listed Jeter as a DH…
The Yankees play their next 10 games at home and Jeter is 14 hits away from 3,000, so he could well get there if he heats up just a little bit. However, he’s likely going to have to be put on pace to play in all 10 of them, and that’s exactly what Girardi is thinking with the decision to let him DH tonight.
It is Jeter’s fifth start at DH this season. He went 4-for-19 with one RBI and no runs scored in the first four. Overall, he’s batting .260/.327/.325 while getting 100 percent of his at-bats from the first or second spot in the order. That’s certainly not something that’s going to change until after he reaches 3,000.
“You would love for him to do it here,” Girardi said. “We have 10 games on this homestand — 14 hits he needs. I would love for him to do it here, but you can’t physically wear him down or risk hurting him to do that. We are going to have to be smart about how we do this and we are going to probably play it the way we have all year long.”
Which basically means letting Jeter have his way and hoping that it doesn’t hurt the team in the process.
Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman has played in exactly one Grapefruit league game this year, and that was way back on March 2. Since then he has been totally absent from the Nats’ big league spring games, playing instead on the back fields in sim games and in minor league contests.
While that’s not an unusual course of action for an injured or rehabbing player, both Zimmerman and the Nationals insist that there is nothing wrong with him. Per this report from MASN’s Mark Zuckerman, they’re saying that Zimmerman “simply prefers to get his work done in the more controlled environment of minor league games, where the rules are lax.” He doesn’t have to dive for balls, he can lead off every inning, etc. Manager Dave Martinez says Zimmerman simply doesn’t like the usual spring training grind and that this is working for him so he’s fine with it too.
Are you buyin’ that? Not sure I’m buyin’ that.
I suppose weirder things have happened. The Minnesota Twins once let Jack Morris go back to his farm in between starts rather than stay with the club. Other accommodations have been made for veterans, especially in spring training. But this is way more in keeping with a team hiding an injury. Though I have no idea why the Nats would choose to hide an injury to Zimmerman. They’ve talked at length about Daniel Murphy‘s knees and Adam Eaton‘s seemingly never-ending rehab. If Zimmerman has some aches and pains, you’d think they’d talk about it.
On the other hand, if this is a legit story and it is simply an accommodation for a veteran who doesn’t like the normal spring training grind, look for Zimmerman to be a trailblazer, because there are a LOT of dudes who hate spring training too and would love to change things up like this.