October 14, 2012
The Yankees will go on without Jeter
By BOB ELLIOTT, QMI Agency
NEW YORK - The last time the New York Yankees played a post-season game without Derek Jeter was 1995.
Their shortstop at that time was Tony Fernandez, and the Yanks fell to the Seattle Mariners in game 5 of American League Division Series.
So when Jeter fractured his left ankle in the 12th inning of Game 1 of the AL Championship Series, respect came from both dugouts.
“What he has done in the postseason, what he means to the Yankees, what he means to baseball in general, it’s tough,” Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland said before Game 2. “When you think about the post season what do you think about? The Atlanta Braves, 14 straight, Reggie Jackson, Mr. October and Jeter. So it’s really an unfortunate situation, it really is.”
Jorge Posada retired after last season. Mariano Rivera tore ligaments in his knee in May. Jeter was carried off the field Saturday and is out for three months. Only lefty Andy Pettitte remains of the core four homegrowns.
“We had to move on from a lot of things this year — we’ve lost the greatest closer of all time — people left us for dead,” said Yankees manager Joe Girardi. “The same in August and September, they said we were panicking and we laughed. We said no, we’re going to be fine.”
Still, Girardi admitted there are very few athletes that get all baseball fans upset when injured.
“I don’t know if I have ever seen that. People come into my office to do my interviews and they are down,” he said.
The Yanks had not played a post-season game since Game 6 of the 1981 World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers without either Rivera or Jeter. Jayson Nix started at short Sunday.
“What would Derek say? ‘I’m great, let’s go’,” Girardi said. “That would be his message. We have to find a way. We have done it all year long and we’re going to have to do it again. How often have we had our full lineup the whole year? Not often.”
Jeter, who has a career 3,304 hits and five World Series rings, was undergoing a CT Scan and an MRI Sunday afternoon. He's on crutches wearing a splint and will see Dr. Robert Anderson in Charlotte, N.C.
“We’re all big Jeter fans since we were younger, watching the Series from the 1996 one until the recent one,” said Delmon Young, who drove in the winner for the Tigers in Game 1. “We all grew up on backyard baseball, wanting to win the Series either against the Yankees or getting through the Yankees to get there.
“Unfortunately it happened. We’d love to see him playing, because it is really fun playing the Yankees, especially when Derek is healthy.”
Leyland expected New York will be “pumped up” despite the loss of their captain.
“They are going to play the game,” Leyland said. “They’ll play it the right way. They are not going to give us anything. The manager is tough, the team is tough. We have been watching them in the postseason lineup for a lot of years,” he said. “I don’t think it’s going to have any effect on how the Yankees approach this series or go about their business.”