Saturday, March 7, 2009

Has it come to this already for Derek Jeter? Pinch Runners?

In a sign of Derek Jeter's age (or the fact that the WBC is a glorified All-Star game), Jeter was just removed from the USA's opening game against Canada for pinch runner Jimmy Rollins. He was 2-3 with a Jeterian double and a single in 5 innings of play.

Remember the days when Derek Jeter reached first and was an immediate threat to steal? Now he is being removed for pinch runners.

As frustrated as Jeter looked sitting on the bench when Jimmy Rollins was subsequently caught stealing, him playing as few innings as possible is much better for the Yankees. When Jeter is on the baseball field he is locked into the competition. However, as soon as he cools off, he will remember that the WBC is a glorified exhibition and the team paying him 20 million dollars per year is most important.

Perhaps the source of Jeter's apparent frustration was Davey Johnson's promise on Friday that he would split the shortstop playing time in full games, and not by subbing the shortstops in-game:
"I think, especially this time in the spring, that third and fourth at-bat, really, a guy starts being comfortable," Johnson said. "And to take either one of them out and put another guy in and start all over again, I'm not a fan of that."
Jeter will surely say the right thing after the game, but what is the point of saying something like that in the press and then doing the complete opposite? Hopefully there is no underlying injury concern with Jeter - that would be a nightmare.

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