New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter was placed on the disabled list in a move that will “effectively end his season,” General Manager Brian Cashman said.
Jeter, 39, has played 17 games this season and none since Sept. 7 as he continues to feel the effects of leg injuries that started with a broken left ankle last October. He was placed on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to Sept. 8, the team said in an e-mail.
“The entire year’s been pretty much a nightmare for me physically, so I guess it’s fitting that it ends like this,” Jeter said at a news conference. He said there was no new injury involved.
Jeter most likely didn’t give the muscle that atrophied during immobilization of his ankle enough time to regain its strength, said Dr. Steven Weinfeld, 50, the chief of the foot and ankle service at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City.
“It’s easier for a 22-year-old player to come back than a 38- or 39-year-old player,” Weinfeld said in a telephone interview. “It takes about a year to regain strength even for a high-performance athlete. Athletes think when the bone is healed, they’re done.”
Jeter will benefit from the time off before spring training begins as he works to overcome the residual weakness in his leg, Weinfeld said. The prognosis is good that he will be able to return to the team next season.
With September rules allowing teams to have additional players on their active rosters, the decision to add Jeter to the disabled list was made to protect him and the team from being tempted to play him, Cashman said at a news conference in Baltimore, where the Yankees defeated the Orioles 5-4 last night.
“We learned the hard way, every step of the way, that this was a more difficult rehabilitation than we ever expected,” Cashman told reporters. “We feel it’s best to shut him down.”
Jeter won’t play if the Yankees make the postseason, Cashman said. The Yankees remain in contention for the playoffs with 16 regular-season games remaining.
“This is what’s best for Derek,” Cashman said. “We need to protect ourselves from putting Derek in a position to hurt himself.”
The Yankees are 78-68, leaving them in the chase for one of the two wild-card playoff berths given to non-division-winning teams.
Jeter, the team captain, hit .190 with one home run and seven runs batted in over 73 plate appearances this season.
After attempting a comeback from surgery on the ankle, Jeter cracked the ankle again and sat out until July. When he made his season debut on July 11, he strained his thigh and didn’t play again until July 28. After hitting a home run on the first pitch he faced in his return, Jeter struggled at the plate before being pulled from a Sept. 7 game after aggravating the injury.
A 13-time All-Star, Jeter’s 3,316 hits are the most among active Major League Baseball players and 10th on the career list.
“I have not watched his last game,” Cashman said. “No one has.”
The Yankees announced they had acquired infielder Brendan Ryan from the Seattle Mariners for a player to be announced later, and designated right-handed pitcher Jim Miller for assignment.