Hiroki Kuroda pitched five innings, the last after a long rain delay, Robinson Cano had another big hit against the Twins and the New York Yankees beat Minnesota for the fifth time in two weeks, 2-0, Friday night.
Brett Gardner and Cano had RBI singles in the fifth inning off the Twins bullpen after the Yankees had no success against Scott Diamond ahead of a one-hour,
Boone Logan struck out the side in the seventh after relieving Preston Claiborne with two on. David Robertson was perfect in the eighth and Mariano Rivera finished off the eight-hitter for his 30th save.
New York was playing without captain Derek Jeter after he strained his right quadriceps in his first game this season on Thursday.
Jeter was not going to take it easy, not after spending 91 agonizing games sidelined with a broken ankle. That’s not Jeter.
At 39 years old, the New York Yankees captain might not have been ready to return to the team at his desired level of play.
He is now out for the weekend series, and New York won’t rule out a return to the disabled list.
“It’s frustrating. I don’t know what else you want me to say,” Jeter said. “I worked hard to get to the point of rejoining the team yesterday. It’s not how you draw it up, but hopefully, I’ll be back out there soon and help this team win some games.”
After just four rehabilitation games, the Yankees pushed up the star shortstop’s return one day after Brett Gardner and Travis Hafner got hurt Wednesday night. Jeter had been telling the team he was ready to return, and general manager Brian Cashman said reports from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre were positive.
So Jeter returned to a huge ovation and beat out an infield hit in his first at-bat. He also scored a run and had an RBI on a groundout that ended in a close play at first. He was pinch hit for in the eighth inning.
“The way the game unraveled in his first two at-bats, they were go-get’em situations, and Derek’s going to do everything he can to succeed, and his body said not yet,” Cashman said. “Is that because of his age or more so maybe what he’s coming back from? It’s hard to say.”
Either way, Jeter is out again. An MRI showed a grade one strain.
Jeter, of course, was against going straight to the disabled list. The plan is to keep the shortstop out for the series against the Twins, and then he will have four days for the All-Star break to receive further treatment before the Yankees
reevaluate. After the break, they start a series at Boston on July 19.
“We’ll have to give it some time and see how he responds,” said Cashman, who added that Jeter’s ankle is fine.
Cashman wouldn’t blame age as a factor for Jeter’s latest injury: “I don’t want to say it’s Father Time knocking on his door.”
But manager Joe Girardi was realistic about how he uses the Yankees career hits leader.
“I don’t think it’s a guy that you can run out there 40, 50 days in a row like you used to,” Girardi said. “You’re going to have to manage that.”
In a season full of makeshift lineups because of absent former All-Stars, the Yankees appear to have been snakebit twice.
Call it DL 2.0.
Jeter joins Mark Teixeira (wrist surgery), outfielder Curtis Granderson (broken pinkie) and catcher Francisco Cervelli (broken hand), who have been hurt and then had setbacks or second injuries.