The Yankees may start someone other than Derek Jeter at shortstop on Opening Day for the first time since 2001, manager Joe Girardi said Thursday.
Girardi told reporters he’s not sure if Jeter will be ready for the Yankees’ April 1 2013 opener against the Red Sox at Yankee Stadium.
“I think there’s a little bit of a question,” Girardi told reporters. “Because of the rehab and you have to get the full strength and maybe you’re not able to start doing the things you normally would in January. I mean, it could be (possible Jeter misses opening day), bit I think he’ll find a way.”
Jeter is expected to require four to five months to recover from Oct. 20 surgery and a broken left ankle suffered in Game 1 of the American League Championship Series against the Tigers. He will also need time to work back into playing shape.
“His left leg is still basically non-weight bearing, I believe,” Girardi said. “I think his mood’s OK, but you think about it, I’ve always said you spend all year long playing, you know the eight, nine months, and you look forward to the off-season to be able to relax and do some of the things you want and he’s not going to have that this year because he’s going to have a lot of rehab. So I’m sure from that standpoint it’s a little bit frustrating, but Derek always finds a way to deal with what he’s going through.”
Jeter has been the Yankees’ Opening Day starting shortstop every year since 1996, with the exception of 2001 when a strained thigh muscle kept him out of the lineup for the team’s first four games. Jeter’s 15 Opening-Day starts ties him with Bill Dickey for second-most in Yankees history three starts behind Mickey Mantle’s team-high of 18.