Mourning angel

A nation mourns Derek Jeter’s tragic, heroic calf strain

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There are, like, two dozen injury stories a week. Seriously, go back through the HBT archives and you’ll see that a huge percentage of our minor posts are this guy straining that muscle and this or that body part being sore.  It’s easily the most rote kind of post we or anyone else who writes about baseball does because it’s just matter-of-fact news, rarely with any serious potential to impact the general narrative.

But when it’s Derek Jeter, boy howdy, are things different. At least to Ian O’Connor of ESPN New York, who writes about Jeter’s Grade 1 calf strain like it was the bullet that took out the Archduke Ferdinand.

After an opening paragraph that cited an unwritten pact of honor Jeter has with Yankees fans and a second paragraph with the now de riguer Joe DiMaggio comparison, O’Connor cites all of Jeter’s past glories, in which he selflessly put himself before his team, with the ultimate price being paid by his body finally — tragically — breaking down.  Get your hankies out folks:

… if Jeter were available to comment after his MRI he surely would’ve said he would return to the lineup the only way he knows how—ASAP. No captain who busted up his cover-boy face on a teeth-first dive into the stands against Boston in 2004 and then played against the Mets the following night would ever allow a silly little calf strain to keep him down for long … It was something that reminded all witnesses of Jeter’s extensive wear and tear, and of a noble willingness to play hurt that reminded Monahan of certified ruffians the likes of Thurman Munson.

Grade 1 calf strain, dude. Really.

I know O’Connor just wrote a book about Jeter and likely still has stars in his eyes and everything, but save the purple prose for Jeter taking a gunshot wound or dying young of typhus or something.

Mets leaning on Jay Bruce, Neil Walker as Lucas Duda insurance

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - MAY 12:  Pinch hitter Lucas Duda #21 of the New York Mets walks back to the dugout after striking out for the first out of the ninth inning against Clayton Kershaw #22 of the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on May 12, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.  The Dodgers won 5-0.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
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The Mets have begun working outfielder Jay Bruce and second baseman Neil Walker at first base as potential insurance in the event Lucas Duda continues to experience back discomfort, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports. Duda has been sidelined recently due to back spasms and missed all but 47 games last season as a result of a stress fracture in his lower back.

Manager Terry Collins spoke about Bruce’s work at first base on Sunday, saying, “I liked everything I saw today. “It looks like he’s got the athleticism, he’s got the hands, he’s got the arm angle. He made some throws in our drills that you wouldn’t expect an outfielder to be able to make, but yet he does. If that’s where we have to go, I think we’ll be fine.”

Bruce has only three games’ worth of experience at first base at the major league level, but still has high expectations for himself. He said, “I am going to work at it. I want to give myself a chance and the team a chance. I am not going to go over there and be a butcher. It’s just not the way I go about my business on the baseball field and it wouldn’t be fair to the team if I wasn’t capable to do it, so I am going to work at it and we’ll see what happens.”

The Mets made Bruce available via trade over the offseason but didn’t get an offer that whet their appetite. As a result, Michael Conforto appears to be the odd man out in the Mets’ crowded outfield.

Jason Kipnis diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 02:  Jason Kipnis #22 of the Cleveland Indians celebrates after scoring a run on a wild pitch thrown by Jon Lester #34 of the Chicago Cubs (not pictured) during the fifth inning in Game Seven of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field on November 2, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis has been diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff in his right shoulder, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reports. Kipnis has received a cortisone shot and will be shut down from throwing for the next four to five days.

There’s a lot of spring left, so it’s perfectly sensible for the Indians to play it safe with their star player. The club already had Kipnis on a shoulder strengthening program.

Kipnis, 29, helped the Indians to the playoffs after batting .275/.343/.469 with 23 home runs, 92 RBI, 91 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases in 688 plate appearances during the regular season last year. He then helped the Indians reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Cubs, where they were eventually stopped, as he provided a .741 OPS including four homers and eight RBI in 15 playoff games.