TAMPA, Fla. — Yankees general manager Brian Cashman says he doesn’t know if injured captain Derek Jeter will be available to play for New York on opening day.
The shortstop received an anti-inflammatory injection in his surgically repaired left ankle and missed his second straight spring game on Wednesday.
“At this stage, I just don’t know, so all I can do is acknowledge it’s a possibility,” Cashman said when asked if Jeter would be ready for opening day. “We’ve got to be in a position where he plays a full 9 innings of defense, and be able to do back to back (games) and all this other stuff. We’ll see how he responds, but I can’t give you certainty now that what he’s just experienced isn’t going to push it back a little bit.”
Cashman didn’t rule out Jeter starting the season on the disabled list.
“We’ve got to do what’s right for him,” Cashman said. “Whatever’s right for him will be right for us. I’m not saying he’s going to be DL’ed, but I can’t tell you it won’t be. I don’t think it’s anything serious, I just think it’s a timing issue.”
Cashman says he doesn’t know when Jeter will resume playing in spring training games. He was removed from the lineup against Philadelphia on Tuesday for “precautionary” reasons because his ankle felt stiff.
Jeter broke his left ankle in Game 1 of the AL championship series in October. The 13-time All-Star played in his first spring game on March 9 and later played the field, including consecutive games, for the first time. He is 3 for 11 so far.
“The doctor said, basically, you can experience a lot of different things along the pathway, so it’s not a surprise,” Cashman said. “His rehab has gone extremely well, but obviously after the back to back, it barked a little bit. He’s going to have ups and downs in the early portion of it, but eventually at some point he’ll be past this. We’ve just got to make sure we take the right steps so it’s eventually behind him.”
Cashman said Jeter was sent home after getting the injection and was not at George Steinbrenner Field on Wednesday.
“Let the shot take its course and see where he’s at over the next few days,” Cashman said. “After you get a feel for how he’s feeling, then we’ll start it up and get him going again. Because of who he is, I can’t count anything out. Opening day is just a date. What’s more important is how he feels and be in a position to do what he’s capable of doing on a consistent basis.”
Eduardo Nunez would replace Jeter at shortstop if he’s not ready for the opener.
The Yankees have been hit hard by injuries this year. Outfielder Curtis Granderson is out until at least May with a broken right forearm, while first baseman Mark Teixeira says he could miss up to two months due to a partially torn tendon sheath in his right wrist. Third baseman Alex Rodriguez might return in July following hip surgery.
“These our obstacles you deal with, and you find ways to get over it … that’s it,” Cashman said. “We will. We’re not going to allow this to bury us.”
Opening day starter CC Sabathia is coming back from left elbow bone spur surgery, and closer Mariano Rivera had knee surgery last year.