Derek Jeter: 'It's not a big deal'

Updated: September 13, 2012, 1:35 AM ET
By Wallace Matthews | ESPNNewYork.com

BOSTON -- Derek Jeter left the New York Yankees' 5-4 win on Wednesday night against the Boston Red Sox in the top of the eighth inning after apparently re-injuring the ankle he rolled last week in Tampa.

But Jeter, who rarely leaves a game on his own will and almost never admits to an injury, insists he will be back in the lineup for Thursday night's series finale.

"It's not a big deal," Jeter said. "You play or you don't play. That's the bottom line. I'll be playing tomorrow."

Jeter came up lame after crossing first base at the end of the eighth while trying to beat out a double-play ball. He limped noticeably for several steps before briefly doubling over in right field at Fenway Park to catch his breath as manager Joe Girardi and trainer Steve Donohue hurried out to check on him. The three walked slowly across the field, and after a brief conversation, Jeter left the game and was replaced at shortstop by Jayson Nix.

"I wanted to stay in the game," Jeter said. "I told Girardi I was fine, really. I said I'm fine to stay in, and he said go in and put ice on it. That was basically the extent of the conversation. We were winning at the time and I came out. It's really nothing more than that."

Girardi confirmed that it was his call to remove Jeter from the game.

"He wanted to play," Girardi said. "I just said, 'We're going to get you out. We've got plenty of guys, so we'll see if we can get you ready for tomorrow.' "

Jeter has been battling the injury, which Girardi called a bone bruise, since last week's series with the Rays in St. Petersburg, Fla., although the shortstop would not specify how it happened.

"It's like I say, I don't talk about injuries," he said. "Either you play or you don't. At this point in the season, I'm sure there are a lot of guys that have some things bothering them. I'm playing. I'll be fine. There's really no need to discuss it."

Up until his eighth-inning mishap, it had been a historic night for Jeter, whose two singles drew him within one hit of tying Willie Mays for 10th on baseball's all-time hit list with 3,282. The run he scored in the seventh inning was the 1,860th of his career, moving him ahead of former New York Giants great Mel Ott for 12th on the all-time list.

At 38 years old, Jeter leads the majors in hits with 194 and the Yankees in batting with a .324 average.

"If he was out for a while, I'd be pretty concerned," Girardi said. "But knowing Derek as well as we all do, he's probably going to be in there tomorrow."

Wallace Matthews has covered New York sports since 1983 as a reporter, columnist, radio host and TV commentator. He covers the Yankees for ESPNNewYork.com after working for Newsday, the New York Post, the New York Sun and ESPN New York 98.7 FM.
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