After spending two games in the designated hitter spot, Derek Jeter is itching to test his surgically-repaired ankle at his familiar shortstop position.
According to Andrew Marchand of ESPN New York, Jeter said following today’s Grapefruit League game that the plan is for him to play shortstop Wednesday against the Phillies. After going 1-for-2 with a single in his return during his spring debut on Saturday, Jeter was hitless in two at-bats this afternoon against the Cardinals.
The Yankees will wait to see how Jeter’s ankle feels before making an official decision about Wednesday, but manager Joe Girardi said that he’ll play four or five innings for his first time back on the field. It’s unlikely that he’ll play back-to-back games at shortstop right out of the gate, but he should have plenty of time to get there before Opening Day.
Jeter, 38, led the majors with 216 hits last season and currently sits 11th all-time with 3,304 career hits. If healthy, he should continue to climb that illustrious list this year. He’s just 12 hits away from passing Eddie Collins for 10th place and 16 away from passing Paul Molitor for ninth.
Jon Heyman reports that the Nationals are closing in on a deal with catcher Matt Wieters. Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that it’s a two-year deal. UPDATE: Ken Rosenthal reports that the deal is for two years, at $21 million. There is an opt-out for him after year one. He will get $10 million in 2017 and, if he returns in 2018, he’ll get $11 million.
Wieters was not expected to go this long without signing, but his market, which many thought would be robust, never materialized. The Nats had been rumored to be interested for months, but they were apparently waiting to swoop in late and get what one presumes will be a bargain.
Wieters, 30, finished last season hitting .243/.302/.409 with 17 home runs and 66 RBI in 464 plate appearances. The Nationals currently have Derek Norris and Jose Lobaton, so who falls where in the catcher fight in Washington is unclear, but one presumes that Wieters getting a two-year deal puts him at the top of the depth chart.
Ken Rosenthal has an interesting story up about Sergio Romo as he begins spring training with his new team, the Los Angeles Dodgers.
There is some fun stuff about his family, all Dodgers fans from southern California, but the more notable stuff is about Romo himself, who has dealt with a lot more than has been reported over the past couple of seasons. The loss of three of his four grandparents is a big one, as it has thrust the mantle of head of the family on Romo in ways that he was not fully prepared for. There are also allusions to personal and psychological problems Romo has experienced — there is a vague suggestion of alcohol or maybe just late nights out and perhaps depression, but he is not specific about it — which he worked on with the help of friends and teammates on the Giants and which he now has overcome.
There’s always more going on the lives of baseball players than we as fans know.