Joe Girardi says Derek Jeter’s status for Opening Day “is a little bit of a question”

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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.

Rob Manfred says Tampa Bay must pick up pace on new stadium

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred wants Tampa Bay to work a little quicker on getting the Rays a new ballpark.

Rays Principal Owner Stuart Sternberg has been working for nearly a decade to get a new stadium for the club and signed a three-year agreement with the City of St. Petersburg early in 2016 to search for a site in the Tampa Bay area. Manfred wants that search to pick up some steam.

“I think it’s fair to say we want the process to take on a better pace moving forward,” Manfred said Wednesday night at Tropicana Field, home of the Rays since their first season in 1998.

The Rays were averaging 15,815 fans per game before Wednesday night’s contest against the Toronto Blue Jays. That is just over half the major league average of 30,470. Tropicana Field and its location have been almost universally blamed as the reason for the poor attendance.

“I’ve been pretty clear that they need a new facility here, a major league quality facility in an A-plus location,” Manfred said. “It is time to move that decision to the front burner here in Tampa.”

The matter of how a stadium would be financed has been tabled until a site is determined, but Sternberg continued to express confidence in the Tampa Bay market.

“I’ve had the opportunity to bail on it many times over the years,” he said. “I won’t say this is a slam dunk, it’s certainly not. But I think we can do something that’ll at least double our attendance. That’s a lot to ask for.”

Manfred said Major League Baseball “doesn’t have a firm timetable” for what steps to take if the Rays fail to get an agreement to build a new stadium in the Tampa Bay area, but but added that “it is a topic of discussion in the industry, the lack of progress.”

More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball

Robinson Cano leaves game with hamstring tightness

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Bad news for the Mariners this evening: Robinson Cano left Seattle’s game against the Atlanta Braves with tightness in his left hamstring.

Cano walked off the field after legging out a double — his second of the game — in the third inning. He pulled up as he approached second base and walked off the field, accompanied by a trainer. There was no immediate word on the severity of the injury. The Mariners have a day off Thursday before opening a series at the Yankees on Friday night, so they have some time to evaluate him.

Cano is hitting .277/.377/.460 with 19 homers and 78 RBI on the year.