The Bombers' captain is expected to recover within 4-5 months, according to a team spokesman
He finished off the year with 216 hits, the most in baseball
News of the surgery also coincided with the birthday of another Yankee icon: Mickey Mantle
Longtime New York Yankees icon Derek Jeter underwent surgery Saturday in Charlotte, North Carolina, to mend the left ankle he fractured fielding a ground ball in the 12th inning of what was the beginning of his team’s post-season collapse.
The Bombers’ captain is expected to recover within four to five months, according to a team spokesman. But the injury has only added to looming questions about how many more seasons the aging all-star has left in pinstripes.
Finishing off the year with 216 hits, the most in baseball, the 38-year-old shortstop – nicknamed “Mr. November” – has played 18 seasons in Gotham and has often said he would like to finish his career as a Yankee.
A virtual shoo-in for Major League Baseball’s Hall of Fame, Jeter last year became only the 28th player in baseball history – and the first Yankee – to reach the 3,000-hit mark.
News of Saturday’s surgery also coincided with the birthday of another Bombers legend: Mickey Mantle, who played 18 seasons with the team between 1951 and 1968.
But when Jeter will join the list of past Yankee greats remains a mystery that most New Yorkers aren’t looking to unravel just yet.
“We’ve had to move on from a lot of things this year,” said Manager Joe Girardi in a postgame press conference following the team’s 6-4 loss to Detroit last weekend. “We’ve lost the greatest closer of all time where people left us for dead. … It is something you deal with, an aging roster.”
In March, pitcher Mariano Rivera – the 42-year-old Panama native who has long endeared himself to New Yorkers with his signature cut fastball – was faced with the daunting prospect of a career-ending injury with a tear to his anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL.
Rivera, baseball’s all-time leading career saves leader (608), hit the dirt in agony while shagging fly balls during a practice session in Kansas City, leaving the Yankees to fill his shoes with a younger though surprisingly proficient pitching staff.
“If you want to move on, you’ve got to find a way,” Girardi said.
But the Tigers on Thursday swept the Yanks, whose hitters largely struggled throughout the post-season with a measly .188 playoff batting average, raising questions about the team’s penchant for aging stars and amplifying calls to develop the next generation of Yankee greats.