Maybe the Yankees were thinking of waiting a couple of more days to see how Derek Jeter’s injured calf would respond, but that would have required cutting an infielder to make room for the returning Alex Rodriguez on Monday. Instead, they chose the prudent course and placed Jeter on the disabled list for the third time this season.
Jeter, who suffered a fractured ankle in the postseason last year, first strained his right calf in his 2013 debut on July 11. He rejoined the Yankees lineup on July 28, but he lasted just four more games before going down again. He’s gone 5-for-19 with a homer and two walks in his five appearances for the Yankees this season.
Eduardo Nunez and Jayson Nix will play shortstop while Jeter rests for the next couple of weeks.
Update: The Yankees have also designated Brent Lillibridge for assignment, clearing a 40-man roster spot for Rodriguez, and recalled infielder David Adams.
Is this the Yankees’ way of telling Alex Rodriguez to put up or shut up? They have their 38-year-old former MVP batting cleanup Monday against the White Sox in his 2013 debut.
It’s A-Rod’s first start for the Yankees since Game 2 of last year’s ALCS against the Tigers. Playing on a bad hip that required surgery, Rodriguez hit sixth behind Raul Ibanez and Russell Martin in that one. He wound up finishing 1-for-4 and then took a seat for Games 3 and 4 in the Tigers’ sweep, though he did go 0-for-2 off the bench in Game 4.
If Rodriguez were returning in a more traditional fashion tonight, he may well have started off hitting fifth or sixth. His .214/.333/.452 line in 42 minor league at-bats during his rehab assignment doesn’t exactly scream cleanup hitter.
Rodriguez, though, tried to dictate the pace of his own returning, putting himself at odds with the Yankees more than once. He says he’s ready, so now the team expects to prove it.
With A-Rod batting fourth, Alfonso Soriano has moved up to second in the order versus left-hander Jose Quintana. Vernon Wells is batting fifth and making his first career start at first base, not that anyone will notice.
Miguel Cabrera is back at third base for the Tigers on Monday after resting an abdominal strain for five days.
Cabrera made a pinch-hitting appearance Sunday against the White Sox and singled in his first at-bat since Tuesday, before immediately being removed for a pinch-runner.
The Tigers won all four games while Cabrera was absent and are currently riding an eight-game winning streak as they begin a series in Cleveland tonight. That took some of the pressure off Cabrera to hurry his return, but the 2012 AL MVP never likes to sit out for long. He played in 161 games in both 2011 and ’12, and he’s never come in under 150 in his nine full seasons as a major leaguer.
Cabrera is hitting .360/.455/.668 with 32 homers and 99 RBI this season. He leads the AL in average and is second to Baltimore’s Chris Davis in both homers and RBI.