If the 37-year-old shortstop fails to become the 28th player in Major League Baseball history and the first Yankee to reach the milestone this weekend at Yankee Stadium, he will probably end his quest on the team’s eight-day road trip after the All-Star break.
Jeter is 6 for 25 (.240) against pitcher David Price who is starting for the Rays today and 17 for 54 (.315) against James Shields, scheduled to pitch tomorrow in the teams’ final game before the July 12 All-Star Game.
The teams could have added a nightcap today; instead the Rays voted for Sept. 22 when they had a day off after their two- game series in New York. The Yankees (51-35) are one game behind the leading Boston Red Sox, while the Rays (49-39) in third place are four games back in the five-team American League East.
“The initial thought was they wanted to play a doubleheader tomorrow,” Rays’ third baseman Evan Longoria told the Associated Press. “I think we all know why they’d like to get these three games in and obviously they’re rooting for Derek to get his 3,000th hit here in this series, I mean, we’d like to see him do it, too.”
Girardi Favored Doubleheader
The Rays would have been playing a Yankees team without Alex Rodriguez, who was due for an MRI on his sore right knee, and Nick Swisher, who is nursing a sore left quadriceps. Jeter and Rodriguez also pulled out of the All-Star game and will be replaced by Detroit Tigers shortstop Jhonny Peralta and Boston Red Sox third baseman Kevin Youkilis.
Without his stars, Yankee manager Joe Girardi still wanted to get the three games played.
“Whether I’m frustrated or not, it doesn’t matter,” Girardi told the AP. “It was important to us, it was important to our fans.”
Rays manager Joe Maddon said he preferred the later date when the players wouldn’t be so run down and the teams could play with expanded rosters in September.
Jeter’s journey to join the ranks of Pete Rose, Cal Ripken and Paul Molitor was interrupted at 2,994 hits on June 13 when he strained his calf muscle. The next day he was placed on the disabled list and didn’t return to the team’s active roster until July 4.
When the Yankees return from the All-Star break, they travel to Toronto and Tampa, Florida, from July 14-21.
Fans with paid tickets for last night’s game may use them for the Sept. 22 game or exchange them for any regular season game at Yankee Stadium within 12 months.
For those interested in seeing the weekend series, the Yankees advise there are only an “extremely limited” number of tickets remaining for the games, both of which start at 1:05 p.m.
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