Joe Girardi cast some doubt on Derek Jeter’s ability to return from a broken ankle by Opening Day, saying yesterday that “there’s a little bit of a question” about whether he’ll be recovered in time to be in the Yankees’ lineup.
Jeter broke his left ankle in Game 1 of the ALCS and underwent surgery on October 20, with initial reports pegging his recovery timetable as 4-5 months. That would mean returning during spring training and Girardi stressed that he believes Jeter “will find a way” to do that, but also admitted it’s no sure thing “because of the rehab and you have to get the full strength and maybe you’re not able to start doing the things you normally would in January.”
Not mentioned by Girardi is that even if Jeter is healthy enough to start playing in spring training and able to be in the Yankees’ lineup for Opening Day the odds of him picking up right where he left off defensively as a 39-year-old shortstop coming back from a broken ankle seem pretty long. And of course while Jeter has five Gold Glove awards the last of those came in 2010 and his defense has long been viewed as a negative based on advanced metrics.
Simply by being a 38-year-old everyday shortstop and by hitting .316 following back-to-back seasons in which he appeared to be declining offensively Jeter has bucked the odds in a huge way already, but Girardi having doubts about his ability to continuing doing so following a broken ankle definitely seem sensible.