The New York Yankees have gone the majority of this current campaign without the services of two of their best players, Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez. This was to be the season that some felt that the Bronx Bombers were going to take a step back as far as competing for a playoff spot, nevertheless a World Series title. But when they found themselves unexpectedly a few games out of first place as the All Star break approached, did the Yankees rush their two marquee players back too soon?
It is easy to say that they did after the fact. We can sit back and play Monday morning quarterback. It was a sad sight watching the Captain being carried off the field after breaking his ankle during their playoff game against the Detroit Tigers last year. In one case, one can say that Derek Jeter was most likely brought back too soon. In a day and age where athletes like Adrian Peterson returning from serious injuries much faster than in days past, some were hopeful that the Captain would be back around the All Star break. And that looked to be the case.
Jeter returned two weeks ago and went 1-4 with a run scored. However, the return was short-lived as he strained his quad muscle trying to beat out a ground ball. Now anyone with an objective eye saw that Jeter was nowhere close to being 100% in his first game back. Although he exhibited his usual hustle tendencies, he looked a bit tentative at times. So when Manager Joe Girardi pulled him in the eighth inning, it was no surprise.
It was a surprise when he found himself on the Disabled List after a MRI revealed that he suffered a Grade 1 sprain. Knowing Jeter, he probably pressured the team to bring him back sooner than he should have returned, but that is water under the bridge now. Besides, after all Jeter has accomplished in his storied career, are you going to say no to him? Now Jeter was one thing, A-Rod is a different story.
A-Rod was placed on a 20-day rehab stint in the minors before he was scheduled to return to the Big Leagues. He played the field on several occasions and hit a couple homers in the process. He looked like a shell of his former self, but that still is an upgrade to what the Bronx Bombers were running out at third base of late. Then in his last minor league stint, he came up limping, but he did not think it was anything significant and was prepared to join the Yankees in Texas on Monday. However, a funny thing happened on the way to Arlington.
The Yankees had A-Rod take a MRI and the results revealed that he had a Grade-1 strain as well. This was a shock to most, including A-Rod. As much as the Bombers could use him in the lineup, there are those who feel that the Yankees used the MRI results as a reason to put A-Rod on the DL with the hopes that Major League Baseball would suspend the beleaguered third baseman before he is eligible to return from the DL.
This makes the A-Rod situation so intriguing. We are not only talking about his injured hip and his health. There is this cloud hanging over the four time MVP’s head. Rodriguez admitted that he used performance enhancing drugs while he played for Texas, but has not used him since.
Now he is accused of using them again under the guidance of Tony Bosch, the owner of the Biogenesis Clinic. Bosch has collaborated with MLB to the point where as many as two dozen players, including A-Rod, could face significant suspensions.
There are some that felt that the Yanks are hoping that MLB gives A-Rod a lifetime ban that would get them out of the $115 million they still owe him on his contract. Sources claim that MLB has more evidence against A-Rod than they had against Ryan Braun, who they just suspended for the remainder of the season. Many feel A-Rod’s suspension will be worse and no one will be happier than the Yanks. Nevertheless, A-Rod still is not ready to come back. But he is still better than what they have even if he is only 85% of what he was before he got hurt.
I know that the Yankees are missing more than Rodriguez and Jeter. They are also missing Curtis Granderson, Mark Teixeria and Kevin Youkilis. But Jeter and A-Rod are the faces of the organization and they rushed them back way to soon.