Derek Jeter went on the 15-day disabled list today because of a strained right calf, an untimely setback for the New York Yankees star as he pursues 3,000 career hits.
The Yankees put the All-Star shortstop on the DL for the first time since 2003, making the move prior to their game against Texas. Jeter limped off the field Monday night, four innings after he got his 2,994th hit.
“I’m still pleading my case,” Jeter said, to no avail, about an hour before the Yankees made the announcement.
Jeter and his teammates hoped he would be able to get the historic hit at Yankee Stadium. New York has three games left against Texas on this homestand, then goes on a six-game road trip to Wrigley Field in Chicago, and Cincinnati.
He still might get his chance at home, too.
Jeter will be eligible to come off the DL during the middle of a three-game series at home against Milwaukee. The Yankees then start a six-game visit, taking on the crosstown Mets and Cleveland, before returning to the Bronx.
Infielder Ramiro Pena was called up from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. He has played well for the Yankees in stints over the past couple of years.
Backup shortstop Eduardo Nunez took over after Jeter left the 1-0 loss to Cleveland.
Jeter is known for trying to play through injuries, but hobbled away in the fifth inning and immediately left the game. An MRI exam revealed a Grade I sprain, the mildest kind.
“That’s what we are really talking about, that it will take at least a week,” manager Joe Girardi said before the game.
Jeter said his calf had been sore for a couple of days. He said there was discomfort when he ran off the field in the top of the fifth — it felt as if he’d been hit by a pitch, he said — and more trouble when he jogged down the line after a flyout in the bottom half, ending his night.
“I guess the timing wasn’t very good,” Jeter said. “It’s a little bit frustrating. But even if I wasn’t at this point, I’d still be frustrated. I don’t like not to play. Whether it’s going for 3,000 hits or 100 hits, I’d rather be out there playing.”
Nearing his 37th birthday, Jeter is trying to become the 28th player in major league history to reach 3,000 hits, and the first to do it while with the Yankees.
Jeter was back in the lineup, bruises and all, the day after diving into the stands for that famous catch that bloodied his face in 2004 against Boston.
But he clearly was in trouble Monday night as soon as he took one step out of the batter’s box in the fifth. He went to a hospital after the early exit.