Yankees delay Derek Jeter's target return date

4/16/13 in MLB   |   Matthew_Shovlin   |   735 respect

Blog Photo - Yankees delay Derek Jeter's target return dateAt the start of the regular season, the Yankees announced that they were targeting May 1st as the season debut for legendary shortstop Derek Jeter (ankle). Unfortunately, that return date now seems ambitious to manager Joe Girardi. According to Bryan Hoch of MLB.com, Girardi said a May 1st return "isn't likely," and that "he'll be back when he's back."

Considering the fact that Jeter hoped to be ready for Opening Day, the rehab of his surgically repaired ankle is obviously not going as planned. As a matter of fact, it was announced earlier on Tuesday that Jeter had scaled back his rehab workload, taking less ground balls than he had during his workouts last week. This doesn't necessarily mean that Jeter suffered a setback, but it suggests that there hasn't been much improvement.

Since experiencing soreness in his ankle after a March 23rd minor league appearance as a DH, Jeter hasn't played in a game situation. Reports suggest that he isn't close to appearing in a rehab game, and he'll obviously need to prove that he can be productive and healthy in live action before he is activated. It could be quite some time before he's ready to do that.

As a result, Eduardo Nunez will get a longer opportunity to prove his worth at the shortstop position. He has batted .250 with only one extra base hit so far this season, so the Yankees are certainly eager to get Jeter back on the field. Jayson Nix has also seen time at shortstop, but is only batting .190 with one extra base hit, as well. Offensively, shortstop has been arguably the Yankees' worst position so far this season, so Jeter's return should give the lineup a significant boost.

After batting .316 with 99 runs scored in 2012, the Yankees will hope that the face of their franchise will continue to fight father time and maintain similar production once he is healthy. Jeter will turn 39 years old in June.
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