Alex Rodriguez may end up missing the entire first half following hip surgery, but Derek Jeter thinks he’ll be in the Opening Day lineup despite breaking his ankle in the ALCS.
Just two weeks ago Yankees manager Joe Girardi called Jeter’s status for Opening Day “a little bit of a question mark” but today during a radio interview with Michael Kay the 38-year-old shortstop said there’s “no question” he’ll be ready for Game 1:
I’ll be in the walking boot for another few weeks and then I’ll be good to go. It’s been a long process. What’s it been, six or seven weeks, where I haven’t been able to move too much? But it’s healing probably just as expected. We still got a long way to go before the season starts but I’ll be ready.
Kay also asked Jeter about the New York Post photo suggesting he’d put on some weight during the rehab process and he brushed it off: “I thought it was pretty funny. I guess there’s a lot of things you can do with a picture.”
Sure enough Jeter took a picture yesterday with Harold Reynolds that shows he’s anything but chubby.
All spring training there was at least some mild confusion about Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman. He played in almost no regular big league spring training games, instead, staying on the back fields, playing in simulated and minor league contests. When that usually happens, it’s because a player is rehabbing or even hiding an injury, but the Nats insisted that was not the case with Zimmerman. Not everyone believed it. I, for one, was skeptical.
The skepticism was unwarranted, as Zimmerman answered the bell for Opening Day and has played all season. As Jared Diamond of the Wall Street Journal writes today, it was all by design. He skipped spring training because he doesn’t like it and because he thinks it’ll help him avoid late-season injuries and slowdowns, the likes of which he has suffered over the years.
It’s hard to really judge this now, of course. On the one hand Zimmerman has started really slow this season. What’s more, he has started to show signs of warming up only in the past week, after getting almost as many big league, full-speed plate appearances under his belt as a normal spring training would’ve given him. On the other hand, April is his worst month across his entire 14-year career, so one slow April doesn’t really prove anything and, again, Zimmerman and the Nats will consider this a success if he’s healthy and productive in August and September.
It is sort of a missed opportunity, though. Players hate spring training. They really do. if Zimmerman had made a big deal out of skipping it and came out raking this month, I bet a lot more teams would be amenable to letting a veteran or three take it much more easy next spring. Good ideas can be good ideas even if they don’t produce immediately obvious results, but baseball tends to encourage a copycat culture only when someone can point to a stat line or to standings as justification.
Way to ruin it for everyone, Ryan. 😉