Sunday, October 14, 2012
Teammates react to Jeter's injury
By Matt Ehalt
For as much as Derek Jeter's teammates all feel for the shortstop, who fractured his ankle Saturday and will miss the remainder of the season, they realize they can't feel sorry for themselves at this point.
Game 2 of the ALCS is on tap Sunday and it's next man up for the Bronx Bombers.
"We have to have guys step up. That's kind of been the theme all year. If one team is used to having guys step in to take somebody's place it's us," Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira said. "We've had to deal with it all year so it's really disappointing to have Derek out of the lineup, we know how much this game means to him -- especially the playoffs mean so much to him. We probably feel more for him than anyone else who would go out."
All the Yankees that spoke after the 6-4 loss in 12 innings to the Tigers expressed sympathy for their captain, who suffered the injury while going for a routine ground ball in the 12th inning. Jeter went 1-for-5 on Saturday night but has been one of the team's best hitters this postseason and had been battling a bone bruise in his left foot that had him hobbling around during Game 3 of the ALDS.
"Obviously it's a very difficult moment for all of us and obviously what he means to the team. The way he's been fighting and grinding through what he's been going through," outfielder Raul Ibanez said. "The guy is a warrior, he's a gamer. It's obvious why he's been a tremendous part of so many world championships."
Jeter's teammates all realized he was hurt when he didn't get off the ground, as the shortstop is always quick to get up and get on his feet after making a diving play. This time, he just tossed the ball to Robinson Cano and writhed in pain on the ground before being helped off the field.
"Obviously you know he's hurt. You don't know what's up but for him to stay down it's a pretty safe bet he's pretty hurt," Yankees starter Andy Pettitte said. "It's terrible but we've got a series we got to play. We got to win this series and somebody has to step in and fill that spot."
This is the second time the Yankees had one of their core players go down, as closer Mariano Rivera tore his ACL earlier this year in Kansas City. They were able to still win the AL East despite not having their closer, and will now have to try to win the American League pennant without their shortstop.
"Unfortunately in sports guys go down all the time. Mo had a freak injury early in the season, that's the greatest pitcher of all-time. He went down and we moved past it," Teixeira said. "You feel more sorry for the guys that get hurt, not yourselves. You don't feel sorry for the team, for yourself. You feel sorry for Derek and Mo when they go down and cant contribute."
The Yankees are still confident they can accomplish their goals without Jeter. Jayson Nix, and likely Eduardo Nunez, will man shortstop for the remainder of the year.
"No matter who's out there, we always feel we can get the job done," Teixeira said.